Assemblymember Brindisi: Earned Income Tax Credits Could Mean a Bigger Tax Refund for You

January 25, 2012

With the upcoming tax season right around the corner, hardworking Mohawk Valley families should know about how they can save money and get more out of their tax refunds. Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) are one of the best ways to do this, but they are often overlooked. This Friday, Jan. 27, is EITC Awareness Day, and I urge Mohawk Valley families to look into the EITC to see if they qualify for these tax credits.

EITCs are refundable credits that help eligible families lower their federal and state taxes and yield a greater tax refund. With combined federal and state tax breaks, a qualified family can receive more than $7,000.i Last year, over 26 million people received almost $59 billion in EITCs, yet many families remain unaware of the credits and do not claim them.ii During these tough economic times every penny counts and taxpayers shouldn’t leave any stone unturned.

To be eligible for the state EITC, you must:

  • have worked full or part time at some point in the past year;
  • be a single or married person raising qualifying children at home;
  • have income below $36,052 (or $41,132 if married) with one child;
  • have income below $40,964 (or $46,044 if married) with two children;
  • have income below $43,998 (or $49,078 if married) with three or more children; or
  • be a worker between the ages of 25 and 65 and earn less than $13,660 (or $18,740 if married) with no children.iii

In addition to EITCs, individuals and families earning up to $49,000 a year may also be able to take advantage of free tax preparation and filing services. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) offers free tax preparation services at the following locations in our community:

  • The Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency
    1721 Black River Blvd., Rome, NY 13440
    Monday-Friday (8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
    Call 315-339-2649 for an appointment
  • The Dorothy Smith Center for Advocacy at RCIL
    1607 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13501
    Wednesday-Friday (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
    Tuesday (9 a.m. – 7 p.m.)
    Saturday (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
    Call 315-797-4642 for an appointment
  • Mohawk Valley Perinatal Network
    1000 Cornelia Street, Utica, NY 13502
    Monday-Friday (8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
    Call 315-732-4657 for an appointment

Making life less taxing for our families continues to be one of my top priorities. That’s why back in December I voted for historic tax code reform. Reform that provided tax relief to 99 percent of taxpayers - while asking those who earn $2 million or more a year to pay a little more so that we could afford to invest more into education, health and job creating programs. In fact tax rates are now at their lowest levels in 58 years.

That said there is more work to do and I will continue my efforts to make sure that this year’s state budget is passed on time with NO new taxes or Albany gimmicks.

For more information on EITC, visit the IRS website or check out New York State, the website of New York State’s Department Taxation and Finance.