Earned Income Tax Credit A Financial Assistance Tool for OCSE Families. Office of Child Support Enforcement WICSEC 2008 San Antonio, TX

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1 Earned Income Tax Credit A Financial Assistance Tool for OCSE Families Office of Child Support Enforcement WICSEC 2008 San Antonio, TX

2 SPEC Mission Statement To assist taxpayers in satisfying their tax responsibilities by building and maintaining partnerships with key stakeholders, seeking to create and share value by informing, educating, and communicating with our shared customers.

3 What is SPEC? Outreach and Education function of IRS Wage & Investment Division Individual Income Taxes Administer the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) and TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly) programs

4 SPEC Customer Segments Low Income Persons with Disability Rural Limited English Native American Elderly 4

5 What is EITC? Federal tax benefit designed to assist low and moderate income workers in increasing their financial stability Reduces taxes for workers Supplements wages Makes work more attractive

6 What is EITC? Largest federal aid program EITC equal to TANF and Food Stamp Programs combined Ten times the size CDBG program

7 Who is eligible for the EITC? For Tax Year 2007, Earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than: $37,783 ($39,783 married filing jointly) with two or more qualifying children; $33,241 ($35,241 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child; $12,590 ($14,590 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children.

8 How Does the Credit Work? A qualified individual MUST file an individual tax return (whether income tax is owed or not) and complete Schedule EIC (affirmative action required)

9 How much is the EITC worth? Tax Year 2007 maximum credit: $4,716 with two or more qualifying children; $2,853 with one qualifying child; $428 with no qualifying children. Investment income must be $2,900 or less for the year. The Advance Earned Income Tax Credit (AEITC) for TY 2007 maximum credit the employer is allowed to provide throughout the year with the employees pay is $1,712.

10 Non-Custodial Parents Claiming Child as Dependent Child must: Live with you> 6 months Be a citizen Have SSN A Divorce Decree Form 8332, Release of Claim to Exemption for Divorced or Separated Parents Claiming EITC for a Child A non-custodial parent Cannot claim EITC even if he may have permission to claim as a dependent

11 EITC Facts in Tax Year 2006 Claimed by over 23 Million working families and individuals EITC claims totaled over $43 billion Average EITC refund is $1,800

12 EITC Claimants use Paid Preparers 2.0% 28.0% Self Prepared Paid Preparer 70.0% Other

13 More EITC Facts The EITC is the most effective antipoverty tool for working families Lifts over 5 million individuals out of poverty each year, including 2.6 million children Has ability to turn a $7 per hour job into an $9 per hour job

14 Why is EITC Important to OCSE Families? Transportation Child care Medical expenses Food, clothing, etc. Household expenses

15 Why is EITC Important to Communities? EITC dollars are spent locally Local employers gain a more reliable, productive work force Reduces demand for public assistance

16 How can EITC Benefit Local Offices? Many Child Support Families Are Eligible EITC can enhance Healthy Family Mission Opportunities to join existing Local EITC Efforts

17 How does EITC Benefit Local Offices? Opportunity to Work Collaboratively Potential to locate new services for client referrals Potential for other organizations to utilize Child Support Agencies as one of their resources

18 Why is EITC Important to All Eligible Families? Research indicates that as many as 25% of eligible families fail to claim the EITC they have earned.

19 Who s Missing Out On EITC? Workers not required to file tax returns due to no tax liability - $16,400 for married couples: $10,500 for single parent with one child Workers with low-income or a history of welfare receipt Workers without children Workers who have recently lost jobs and may have never been eligible for the EITC before because their earned income was above the EITC threshold.

20 Who s Missing Out On EITC? (con t) New parents Grandparents Foster Parents Parents raising disabled children Workers who have English as a second language Eligible immigrants, especially Latino families

21 Earned Income Tax Credit How do other organizations assist their clients?

22 Outreach Day 2008 EITC Campaign January 31,2008 National Outreach Day 90 SPEC Partners held news conferences 50 SPEC Partners issued press releases Thousands of organizations provided EITC products IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers extended hours 2 out of 3 SPEC Partners generated EITC news stories Partner outreach was conducted through February Outreach Messages: 1 in 4 eligible claimants do not claim Free Tax preparation available Split Deposit of Refund Focus on Hispanic and Rural communities

23 Community Based Partnerships Community Organizations With Common Interest Or Shared Commitment Of Helping Working Families Emphasize Coordination of Existing Services, Leveraging of Community Resources and Collaboration In Assisting Working Families Strategically Linking Asset Building Opportunities Is Key To Long Term Economic Self-Sufficiency for Working Families

24 Community Based Partnerships Awareness and and Education Community- Based Organizations Asset Building Tax Preparation

25 Free Tax Prep Services How do they secure the EITC?

26 Free Tax Prep Services Many communities offer free tax prep services through: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program

27 Asset Building Opportunities How can families use their EITC refund to improve their economic selfsufficiency?

28 Child Support Enforcement Programs We want to help our families What Can We Do?

29 Child Support Enforcement Programs Make families aware of the Earned Income Tax Credit during assessments Post information about the EITC in prominent places Provide EITC educational materials in mail out to families Provide EITC training to agencies staff to allow them to complete basic EITC eligibility screening

30 Child Support Enforcement Programs Where available, refer clients to free tax preparation sites Consider offering free tax prep services Join existing community efforts around Earned Income Tax Credit education and outreach; free tax preparation services; and asset building opportunities

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32

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34 EITC e-resources (IRS site on EITC) (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities site and access to EITC toolkit) (CBPP site to locate local coalitions) (National Tax Coalition site) (Brookings Institute - key word: EITC) (OCSE)

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36 IRS Contact Beckie Harrell 401 West Peachtree Street STOP 50 WI Atlanta, GA Phone: Fax: ( )

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