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Tax expert: Under-used tax credit can boost return

Posted March 10

Millions of people this time of year are filing their taxes and cheating themselves out of money they earned.

There's a specific tax credit that's easy for a lot of people to get, if they know to claim it.

Ivonne Mejias got help with her taxes from a financial counselor, and she got a refund of thousands of dollars last year by taking advantage of the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit.

“It helped a lot," Mejias said. "I work hard, but I don’t make that much money, so it was a big deal for me."

Millions of Americans qualify for the tax credit.

“If you’re a lower or moderate-income worker, this can give you back some or all of the money you’ve paid in taxes," said Tobie Stanger, money editor for Consumer Reports. "You might even get back more. This can really impact your tax refund.”

The amount of Earned Income Tax Credit that can be collected depends on income, marital status, and a person's number of children.

A single person without any children making almost $15,000 a year can get more than $500. A married couple with three children making almost $50,000 a year could get more than $6,000 back.

Stanger said too few people know about this tax credit, though.

“One in five households in the United States that is eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit does not claim it,” Stanger said.

To find out if you qualify for the Tax Credit, along with other available credits and deductions, go to irs.gov.

A Social Security number for the filer and all the filer's children is required to file for the credit, but any tax-prep website or service can help.


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  • Geneva Smith Mar 12, 2016
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    I doubt the credit is under used, more like gives away too much tax payers money

  • Geneva Smith Mar 12, 2016
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    I have seen people with 3 children get back as much as $9,000 to $14,000 , Why should the tax payers give these people that kind of money , I don't believe the tax payer should get more than they paid into it. If the government want to save money and or cut spending that's a good place to start by just giving these people only what they paid into it.

  • Peter Bacon Mar 12, 2016
    user avatar

    This credit is the most abused credit in the book.. I have prepared taxes for 14 years and this credit should be taken away! There are many better ways to help people.

  • Kristin Byrne Mar 10, 2016
    user avatar

    I'm sorry, but I just don't think someone should get back more than they put in.

  • Brandon White Mar 10, 2016
    user avatar

    Here's a thought. Why does not Washington just exclude these people from withholding tax in the 1st place?