Friday, March 14, 2014 - 2:11pm
Free Tax Help Available to Help Low-Wage Madison Taxpayers Claim EITC
With tax season upon us, Mayor Paul Soglin is urging working families in Madison to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a tax benefit specifically designed to help lower income families and individuals. The amount of the credit varies depending on the amount of earned income and the number of dependent children in the taxpayer’s household. The maximum earned income credit available for 2014 is:
- $6,143 for a household with three or more qualifying children,
- $5,460 with two qualifying children,
- $3,305 with one qualifying child, and
- $496 with no qualifying children.
The credit is available in 2014 for a family with three children, earning up to $46,997 ($52,427 if married filing jointly). Families with two children can earn up to $43,756 ($49,186 if married filing jointly); and those with one qualifying child can earn up to $38,511 ($43,941 if married filing jointly). A household with no qualifying children is eligible to receive the credit if earned income does not exceed $14,590 ($20,020 if married filing jointly).
"This tax benefit is designed specifically to help working families," said Soglin, "but too many taxpayers fail to claim their share." The U.S. Internal Revenue Service estimates that one in five eligible workers miss out on the credit each year simply because they do not ask for it.
"The earned income credit is a key resource that can help working families make ends meet," said the Mayor. "But families don’t receive the credit if they don’t claim it, and they can’t claim it unless they file a tax return. Even people who have earned wages during the year but don’t owe taxes are eligible for the credit," he added. "But they must file a return."
Soglin also noted that the value of the federal credit is enhanced for Wisconsin workers because the State provides an additional credit to workers with children. The State credit adds as much as $2,088 for a household with three or more children, up to $600 with two children and up to $132 for a household with one child. The State does not provide a credit for childless workers.
The Mayor urged families who need help claiming the credit to make use of free tax preparation assistance. "Madison has a strong network of skilled organizations and volunteers who are able and willing to help." Soglin noted.
Free tax assistance is available at the Richard Dilley Tax Center located in the Villager Mall, at 2300 South Park Street. This volunteer site, provided through a partnership between the Dane County UW-Extension Financial Education Center and AARP, is open every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday through April 14 without appointment. Help is also available from volunteers through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) at sites throughout the City, including the Senior Center, the Central Library, and several library branches. A complete list of all locations offering free tax preparation is included on the attached brochure, provided in English, Spanish, and Hmong. The information can also be accessed by contacting 2-1-1 or the Dane County UW-Extension Financial Education Center at (608) 283-1261 or by using their website: http://dane.uwex.edu/family-living/financial-education-center/
Mayor Soglin also encouraged employers in the City of Madison to help get the word out to their employees, customers and clients about the earned income tax credit. "Let’s do everything we can to make sure that all eligible, hard working families in Madison receive the full benefits of their labors."
- Linette Rhodes, City of Madison Community Development, 608-261-9240