Thiele: Take Advantage of All Tax Credits!

Claim the tax breaks you qualify for; could save your family thousands

Every year, too many working families miss out on thousands of dollars in tax savings because they fail to claim several federal and state tax credits that are available to them. These tax credits, along with the lowest state income tax rates in over 60 years, are intended to provide East End families with much-needed tax relief.

Current programs you may qualify for include:

  • the Empire State Child Credit, a refundable tax credit worth up to $330 per child for ages 4-16;
  • the Child and Dependent Care Credit, a tax credit for working parents who pay for child care based on a sliding scale depending on income and the number of dependents;
  • the federal Child Tax Credit, a partially refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 per child; and
  • the Real Property Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit worth up to $375 for eligible homeowners and renters.

In addition to those tax credits, you may also be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Created to offset Social Security taxes, the EITCs on the federal and state level can reduce your tax burden and keep more money in your pocket. This often overlooked tax break can go a long way toward helping families cover day-to-day expenses and save for the future.

To qualify for the New York State and federal EITC, you must:

  • have worked full or part time at some point during the calendar year;
  • be a single or married person raising qualifying children at home;
  • have income below $37,870 ($43,210 if married) with one child;
  • have income below $43,038 ($48,378 if married) with two children;
  • have income below $46,227 ($51,567 if married) with three or more children; or
  • be a worker between the ages of 25 and 65, earning less than $14,340 ($19,680 if married) with no children.

Tax preparation assistance is available for individuals and families who earn $52,000 or less. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers low- to moderate-income families with free tax preparation services, done by committed IRS-certified volunteers. Another resource, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program, helps people age 60 and older with their tax returns at no cost. To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, visit or call 800-906-9887. If you’d like to learn more about the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Credit, visit the IRS website at For information or questions on New York State taxes and the state EITC, visit