Last year alone, almost 25 percent of Oklahomans who qualified for the tax credit didn’t claim it, meaning they literally left money they were owed on the federal government’s table. If you are an individual who files a personal income tax form with the IRS this tax season and your personal or family income falls below the following adjusted gross income levels, you may qualify for the tax credit.
— $43,279 with three or more qualifying children
— $40,295 with two qualifying children
— $35,463 with one qualifying child
— $13,440 with no qualifying children
Income levels are higher if you’re married and file jointly.
The new maximum amounts for the tax credit itself are $5,657 for a family with three or more children; $5,028 for a family with two children; $3,043 for a family with one child and $457 if there are no children. The EITC has been making the lives of working people a little easier for 35 years. It can be a financial boost for families hit by hard economic times, and recent EITC provisions that I supported in Congress mean even more money for larger families.
It is a refundable tax credit, meaning you can get money back even if you don’t owe any federal income tax or had no taxes withheld from your paycheck. If you owe taxes, it can offset the amount of federal income taxes you are required to pay. Yet it remains little known, possibly because people move into and out of eligibility as their income, marital statuses and parental statuses change. Per the IRS, rural and non-traditional families, such as grandparents raising grandchildren and workers without children are among those who most frequently overlook the credit.
Although children are not required for eligibility, they dramatically increase the size or the credit which can help families buy such necessities as food for the pantry and gas for the car or truck. But, remember, if you are eligible, you must file a federal income tax return even if you are not otherwise required to file, and you must specifically claim the credit to get it. You can find more information on the earned income tax credit, including an EITC assistant to determine your eligibility and the amount of your credit, at www.irs.gov, keyword “EITC.”
Congressman Dan Boren was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District in 2004. He currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Natural Resources Committee.