As Tax Season Begins, Carper Reminds Delawareans of Free Tax Filing Services, Earned Income Tax Credit
GEORGETOWN, Del. — Today, on Earned Income Tax Credit Day, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) and free-tax help specialists with Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation, First State Community Action Agency, and the United Way of Delaware, encouraged Delawareans to see if they are eligible to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and free tax filing help.
In 2019, 72,000 Delawareans received an average EITC refund of $2,409. Delawareans who worked last year and had an income of less than $55,952 should check their eligibility for EITC through the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) EITC Assistant tool. For some families, it can mean up to a $6,557 refund for Delawareans filing a return with qualifying children. Those without a qualifying child could be eligible for a smaller credit up to $529.
Taxpayers whose household income was $57,000 or less with dependents or $38,000 without dependents in 2019 are eligible for free, in-person tax preparation help through the IRS’ VITA/EITC program administered by Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation. Delawareans that need help locating a free tax return preparation site can call 2-1-1 or (302) 655-0803.
In addition, taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $69,000 or less in 2019 are eligible for free online tax preparation through the IRS’ Free File program, and can go to IRS.gov/FreeFile to see all Free File options. While each Free File partner sets its own eligibility standards, generally based on income, age and state residency, those with an adjusted gross income of $69,000 or less will find at least one free product to use.
“For decades, the Earned Income Tax Credit has helped families who are struggling to make ends meet hold onto as much of their hard-earned income as possible,” said Senator Carper. “Filing taxes can be complicated and time consuming, and many Delaware families might not know about the benefits they are entitled to claim. I encourage every Delawarean in need of assistance to seek out the free help that is available and avoid leaving money on the table this tax season.”
“The Earned Income Tax Credit has proven effective at helping hard-working families gain a boost in their finances. Without it, many families would struggle just to meet the demands of everyday life. However, many families aren’t aware that they qualify. That is why EITC awareness is so key,” said Bernice Edwards, executive director of First State Community Action Agency. “The IRS estimates that only 4 out of 5 eligible taxpayers claim and receive the Earned Income Credit. That means that 20 percent of eligible families are missing out. We want to ensure that ALL eligible families in Delaware receive this credit and are committed to helping them through the process.”
“Initiated more than 35 years ago, the objective of the EITC program is to increase the ability of workers in lower paying jobs to support themselves and their families through labor force participation. Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation and its partner First State Community Action Agency are committed to reducing poverty through the EITC program and have prepared income taxes for individuals and families meeting the guidelines since the year 2000,” said Rev. Clifford Johnson, president and founder of Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation. “While the number of families that we serve is commendable, we are aware there exists an overwhelming number of families who are unaware of the program’s availability or are not taking advantage of the benefits of the EITC. As president of Nehemiah Gateway, on this EITC Awareness day it is our desire that the word goes out to all eligible families that the opportunity to secure the tax credit is currently available. The word is that our tax sites should be visited, and the benefits of the program obtained. Please spread the word and ensure that everyone that you know is aware that the EITC program is readily available to them.”
“United Way of Delaware and our great partners Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation and First State Community Action Agency have been working hard to raise awareness for EITC for many years,” said Michelle Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Delaware. “Too many children are living in poverty and too many families in crisis. The EITC has helped reduce poverty for thousands of Delawareans (including children) each year. Last year, the average EITC refund in Delaware was over $2,400, but over 20 percent of eligible households did not claim the credit. That is over $30 million that is not getting to the families and children who need it the most. Please join us in spreading the word – before, during and after EITC Awareness Day.”
“The EITC Program is a free tax preparation service that is invaluable and significantly needed in our communities. This program’s main objective is to help families and individuals get their taxes prepared accurately and for free,” said Aruka Davis, Tax Campaign director, Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation. “Special thanks to Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation, First State Community Action Agency & United Way of Delaware Inc. for partnering to deliver this remarkable initiative.”