Friday, January 28, 2011

January 28 is Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day!

At its regular meeting Tuesday, Pittsburgh City Council passed a proclamation sponsored by District 3 Councilman Bruce Kraus declaring this Friday “Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day” in the City of Pittsburgh.
The EITC is a refundable federal income tax credit for low- to moderate-income working individuals and families. Congress originally approved the tax credit legislation in 1975 in part to offset the burden of social security taxes and to provide an incentive to work. During this tax year, qualifying families can receive up to $5,666.00 in EITC.

Councilman Kraus stressed the importance of the EITC in boosting the incomes of lower-income workers, especially in light of the continuing effects of the recent recession.

Representatives from Just Harvest and the United Way of Allegheny County were onhand to receive the proclamation. Just Harvest is one of several organizations in the United Way of Allegheny County’s ‘Money in Your Pocket Coalition,’ which offers annual, free tax assistance through six IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites in Allegheny County.

Adam MacGregor, Just Harvest Communications Coordinator, noted the need for wider awareness of EITC. He said that though EITC can account for as much as 45 percent of a family’s annual income, only between 15 and 20 percent of eligible individuals claim the credit.

“To put this in perspective: EITC can boost an $8.00 per hour job to a $10.00 per hour job, which can make all the difference to a low-income taxpayer,” he said.

Suelynn Shiller of the United Way of Allegheny County said that for tax year 2009, the Money In Your Pocket Coalition processed 4,486 tax returns for low-income clients, reclaiming $3.1 million in EITC. Percina Grier, a tax client of the MIYPC in 2009, called the EITC that she received with the help of the free tax service a “great help and a blessing.”

Taxpayers can get free help in determining their EITC eligibility and claiming the credit by contacting the Money In Your Pocket Coalition at the United Way of Allegheny County’s helpline: 412-255-1155. The Coalition’s free tax assistance services are now available for individuals who made up to $20,000 and families who earned up to $40,000 in 2010. Visit for details.

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