The Internal Revenue Service and its partners across the country remind taxpayers about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on EITC Awareness Day. Today marks the 12th year of this awareness campaign to alert millions of low- and moderate-income workers who may be missing out on this significant tax credit.
There are more than 250 total outreach events and activities scheduled to promote EITC Awareness around the country. Millions of taxpayers who earned $53,930 or less during 2017 may qualify for EITC for the first time, making awareness critical. Local officials and community organizations nationwide hold events on EITC Awareness Day highlighting this key tax benefit.
Workers, self-employed individuals and farmers who earned $53,930 or less last year could receive larger refunds if they qualify for the EITC. Eligible families with three or more qualifying children could get a maximum credit of up to $6,318.
For those without a qualifying child, they could get up to $510. Unlike most deductions and credits, the EITC is refundable. This means those eligible may get a refund from the IRS even if they owe no tax. In 2017, almost 27 million taxpayers received over $65 billion in EITC. The average amount of EITC received was $2,445.
The IRS recommends that all workers who earned $54,000 or less learn about EITC eligibility and use the EITC Assistant to find out if they qualify. The tool, available in English and Spanish, helps users determine their filing status, if they have a qualifying child or children, if they qualify to receive the EITC and estimates the amount of the credit they may get. If an individual doesn’t qualify for the EITC, the Assistant explains why. The worker can print a summary of the results and keep the summary with his or her tax records.
The IRS reminds taxpayers to be sure they have valid Social Security numbers for themselves, their spouse, if filing a joint return, and for each qualifying child. They must have these SSNs before they file their return and before the due date of the return, including extensions. For most people, the due date of the return is April 17, 2018. Most taxpayers can extend the due date for their 2017 tax return to Oct. 15, 2018. There are special rules for those in the military or for those out of the country.
By law the IRS cannot issue refunds before mid-February for tax returns that claim the EITC or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). The IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with EITC or ACTC. This change helps ensure taxpayers receive the refund they deserve and gives the agency more time to detect and prevent errors and fraud.
The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be in taxpayer bank accounts or debit cards starting Feb. 27, 2018, if they chose direct deposit and there are no issues with the tax return.
Beware of Scams
Beware of scams that claim to increase the EITC refund. Scams that create fictitious qualifying children or inflate income levels to get the maximum EITC could leave taxpayers with a penalty. Taxpayers who had an EITC claim reduced or denied for any reason other than a mathematical or clerical error must file Form 8862, Information to Claim Earned Income Credit after Dis-allowance, to claim the credit.