Millions of Dollars in Earned Income Tax Credits Go Unclaimed Each Year by Working Americans

Jan. 27 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Day proclaimed in Washington State to raise awareness of benefit that can pay a lump sum refund of up to $6,269 to people with low to moderate incomes.

Many people are eligible for a tax refund of up to $6,269 from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and do not claim it. Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed tomorrow, Jan. 27 “Earned Income Tax Credit Day in Washington State” as part of a nationwide effort to increase awareness of this underused tax credit and how to apply for it.

You must file a federal tax return with the IRS to get your Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file.

Twenty percent of those eligible for the credit either do not claim it or do not file a tax return at all. The credit reduces the amount of taxes owed and results in a lump sum refund payment for most people who are eligible to claim it.

“As one of the largest anti-poverty programs in the United States, it is critical to raise awareness of this opportunity, not just for individuals and families, but also to strengthen our state’s economy,” Inslee said.

Last year 436,000 people in Washington applied for the credit, claiming close to $956 million in refunds and generating about $1.43 billion for our state’s economy. Even so, an estimated $270 million in federal tax credits go unclaimed in Washington.

“This year individuals can receive a tax refund of up to $6,269 if they meet eligibility requirements,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Department of Commerce. “For over 40 years, the Earned Income Tax Credit has lifted working families out of poverty and strengthened communities throughout the state. I encourage everyone to learn more and see if you qualify.”

The Department of Commerce and Department of Social and Health Services are partnering with other agencies and organizations across the state to raise awareness about the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Free tax preparation services are available to many low- and moderate-income families. Just dial 2-1-1 and ask for “free tax preparation locations” or search “free tax prep” at www.irs.gov.

On Friday, Jan. 27, communities throughout Washington are taking part in national EITC Day to promote the tax credit.

Local Contacts:

Walla Walla Asset Building Coalition (Walla Walla and Columbia counties), Steve Dickerson, 509.540.1247
Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council (Chelan and Douglas counties), Linda Limbeck, 509.662.6156 ext. 238
Kitsap Community Resources (Kitsap County), Kristina Didrickson, 360.478.2301
Lower Columbia Community Action Programs (Cowlitz County), Liz Myntti, 360.425.3430, ext. 215
Opportunity Council (Whatcom County), Lisa Sohni 360.724.5121 ext. 224
Pierce County Asset Building Coalition, Amy Allison, 253.426.1516
Community Action of Skagit County, Lynn Christofersen, 360.588-5748
Spokane County United Way, Andrey Muzychenko, 509.324.5030
United Way of King County, Jenny Walden, 206.461.5048
United Way of Mason County, Allison Maluchnik, 360.401.9808
United Way of Snohomish County, Jacqui Campbell, 425.374.5501
Thurston County Asset Building Coalition, Kirsten Klein, AARP Tax-Aide Local Coordinator – 360-269-5771, Mayra Pena, Thurston ABC Outreach Coordinator – 360-464-6055
United Way of Yakima County, Paula Slaye, 509.966.5163
Klickitat County ABC, Brian Wanless, 509.250.0737
OIC of WA: the Prosperity Center (Grant and Adams Counties), Carolyn Grant, 509.765.9206, ext. 239
Community Housing Resource Center (Clark County), Charlene Dahlen, 360.690.4496, ext. 100

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