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Volunteer income tax assistance sites offer free tax preparations


Each year, thousands of hardworking families miss out on the money they are entitled to because they fail to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit.  As the April 15 deadline approaches for personal tax filings, U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur encourages tax payers to find out whether they may be eligible for a refund on taxes through this important credit. 


The answer could mean more money in ones pocket. 


For taxpayers earning less than $38,000 annually, who need help filling out their tax forms, free tax preparation services are available through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provided by the IRS, according to Kaptur.


And according to the Internal Revenue Service, each year millions of people who qualify for this credit do not apply for it.  


The earned income tax credit, or EITC, was created by Congress in 1975 to assist working families.  It’s a refundable credit, which means taxpayers can use the credit of up to $4,400 to offset any taxes they owe and still get a cash refund for the excess.  If your household earned between one dollar and $35,000 this past year, you may qualify for this valuable credit. 


The VITA program offers free tax help for low-to moderate-income people who cannot prepare their own tax returns.  Trained community volunteers help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country.  VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations.  Some locations also offer free electronic filing.


The maximum credits are $4,400 for taxpayers with two or more children, $2,662 for those with one child and $399 for those with no children.  The qualifying income limits vary by the size of the family:  $35,263 for a parent with two or more children, or $37,263 for those who are married and filing joint returns; $31,030 for a parent with one child, or $33,030 for those married and filing jointly; $11,750 for a person with no children, or $13,750 for those married and filing jointly. 


During the 2004 tax year, there were 766,126 recipients of the earned income tax credit in Ohio who received a total credit of $1,362,184,717.  Nationally, 21.1 million people received the credit totaling $39 billion.


Families can obtain free help from IRS operators during business hours by calling 1-800-829-1040.  Congresswoman Kaptur can also be reached for additional assistance at 1-800-964-4699 or (419) 259-7500.






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