Officials: Don't miss out on Earned Income Tax Credit - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Officials: Don't miss out on Earned Income Tax Credit

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You probably didn't know today is "Earned Income Tax Credit Day" nationally and locally -- as declared by the Mayor of Lake Charles.

The reason: They want to raise awareness among those who don't even know they may be able to get money back from the Internal Revenue Service.

And depending on your circumstances, it could be a nice chunk of money of nearly $6,000 in refundable credits even though you haven't had to file a tax return in the past.

Local officials gathered to kick off Earned Income Tax Credit Day.

It's estimated 15 to 20 percent of earned income tax credits go unclaimed.

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach wants to make sure eligible local people don't miss out.

"The Earned Income Tax Credit program is a free tax credit that is offered through the federal government and you have to file a return in order to get it, but that's all you have to do is file your return. And there are so many people who really aren't aware of how that tax credit works. And so, this is just a way to draw attention to the program. It's a program that we've been sponsoring now for several years. The parish and the city have been partnering with United Way," Roach said.

Maybe you don't make much money -- so little you don't even file a tax return. You're exactly the kind of person who may qualify for the earned income tax credit.

"Typically, the people who have life changes -- a new baby, have recently lost a job or are going to a job that pays less are the ones that typically miss this credit," said Michelle McInnis with United Way of Southwest Louisiana.

She said one way to find out if you qualify is to go to various sites around the parish (listed below) where agencies have partnered to provide Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.

"There will be nine sites across the five parish area, and you do need to bring a picture ID and social security card for every person on the return. Most sites are appointment only so if you could call 211 and get the phone number and call the site that's most convenient for you," said McInnis.

Last year, this program filed about 1,700 returns having an economic impact of nearly $3 million  for SWLA.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.

The following is a news release from United Way:

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Catherine D. Thomas

Director of Community Information

Phone: (337) 433-1088

January 16, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PLEASE JOIN US:

Mayor helping residents receive more refunds 

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach will declare January 25, 2013 "Earned Income Tax Credit Day" in an effort to raise awareness of the Federal and State Income Tax credit.  At a ceremony at the Martin Luther King Community Center located at 2009 North Simmons Street, at 11:30 AM, Mayor Roach, United Way officials and Partners will gather to witness the Mayor's proclamation of EITC Awareness Day.  Proclamations of this sort will be taking place across the nation on this day as it has been declared National EITC Awareness Day.

IRS estimates that between 15-20% of earned income credits go unclaimed each year.  That means up to $15 million dollars in credits were not filed for in SWLA.  The credit is for working taxpayers, who have earned income.  Families with children could be eligible for up to $5,891 in refundable credits, even if in the past they have not been required to file a return.

"Last year, our program filed over 1700 returns, and had an economic impact of more than 2.9 million dollars for SWLA," says Michelle McInnis, Director of Community Initiatives for the United Way of SWLA.  "We have 9 sites in SWLA and volunteers that are IRS Certified preparers taking appointments," says McInnis.

"We appreciate our volunteers, partners and sponsors who help us provide this free service to taxpayers in our community," says McInnis.  For more information, contact the United Way at 337-433-1088, or one of the partner sites listed below.

Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, Multipurpose Center 337-721-3577

City of Lake Charles, MLK Center 337-491-1497

Care Help of Sulphur 337-528-2273

Foreman/Reynaud Center 337-436-2509

Fontenot Library of Vinton 337-721-7095

Big Brothers/Big Sisters Jennings 337-824-4847

McNeese State University 337-562-4170

BeauCARE in DeRidder 337-462-2273

United Way of Southwest Louisiana 337-433-1088

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