Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Resolve to Get Some Real Free Money

If you are a low income person with earned income, resolve to get some real money from the government this year. No, not from the “free money” losers on infomercials—from the earned income tax credit (EITC). It is the tax credit (NOT a deduction. It’s way better. A deduction just reduces the amount of your income the government can tax. A credit cuts down on your actual tax bill, and can create a refund—or sweeten the refund.) to help out low and moderate income people. In 2008, it was responsible for a payout of over $49 billion for over 23 million people. But if you don’t apply for it, you can’t get it.

Contrary to what you might think, you DON’T need a child to qualify. However, you can qualify with a higher income if you have at least one child. And you don’t need to be a math wizard to figure out the forms. You can get totally FREE help in filling out your income taxes, too. VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) is available for low-income (up to $49,000), disabled, elderly or those with a poor grasp of English. These volunteers are trained to help you find your EITC if you qualify, and they are available all over the country. To find the nearest one so that you can set up an appointment, call 1-800-906-9887.

And you may not have to settle for just the federal EITC. Twenty two states and the District of Columbia have them as well. See if your state is one, and see if you can get a break—or a refund—on your state income taxes, too. And Happy New Year!

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