GEORGETOWN, Del. – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) joined representatives from organizations throughout the state to educate Delawareans on the Earned Income Tax Credit. First State Community Action Agency, Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation (NGCDC), and $tand By Me came together to educate taxpayers on the EITC and the free tax preparing services. Delawareans are eligible to get a larger tax refund this year because of the EITC, but taxpayers must file a tax return and claim it.
Today marks EITC Awareness Day, a nationwide effort to increase awareness about EITC and free tax preparation sites. EITC is 40 years old this year, and for those 40 years, EITC made life easier for millions of workers. Last year, more than 27 million workers received more than $65 billion in EITC refunds. In Delaware, 73,000 workers claimed the credit, receiving $2,309 on average.
“For years, the Earned Income Tax Credit has put money back in the pockets of hard working people who need it,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “I encourage all Delawareans to get in touch with these free organizations that can help them find out if they are eligible for the tax credit. Don’t leave money on the table this tax season.”
“Delawareans work hard for their money, and those workers who qualify for their earned income tax credit should make sure they receive what they have earned,” said Senator Chris Coons. “Thanks to the dedication and service by the staffs of First State Community Action Agency and the Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation, they are ensuring our neighbors realize their full tax refund.”
“The Earned Income Tax Credit helps working families keep more of what they earn, and brings millions of dollars back to Delaware’s economy. Yet, every year, close to 20 percent of eligible Delawareans do not file for it,” said Congressman John Carney. “The Delaware EITC Campaign reaches out to Delaware residents, helps them file their taxes, and teaches them how to best put that money to use. I’m hopeful that every eligible Delawarean takes advantage of this opportunity. In many cases, it makes the difference between getting by and getting ahead.”
Families that qualify for the EITC receive substantial refunds that can increase the household income by as much as 35 percent. In fact, the EITC brings more children out of poverty each year than any other federal program. If a worker had income of less than $52,427 last year, they should check their eligibility for EITC. EITC can mean up to a $6,143 refund for workers with qualifying children. Workers without a qualifying child could be eligible for a smaller credit up to $496.
According to Reverend Clifford Johnson, president of NGCDC, the EITC increases the ability of workers in lower paying job categories to support themselves and their families. He said research shows that helping a person reap additional tax benefits based on the amount they earn has increased the labor force participation of lower skilled workers, especially single mothers.
“The EITC Campaign affords us the opportunity to take our services directly to Delaware residents in low-income communities through our mobile tax sites,” said Bernice Edwards, executive director of the First State Community Action Agency. “Last year, we were able to help more than 1,600 individuals and families file their tax returns at no cost to them, and the numbers continue to increase each year. Our services not only help hardworking Delawareans — many whose household incomes are at or below the poverty line — keep the money they’ve earned, but also develop important financial literacy skills to sustain them throughout the year.”
“The earned income tax credit is a way for families to re-energize financially,” said Jaclynn Quinn, resource development director at the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council. “Whether the credit is used for stabilizing a household budget or supplementing efforts toward a financial goal, the benefit of the credit is realized by every recipient. We must ensure that this credit reaches the bank accounts of all who are eligible.”
“This is a great time for Delawareans who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit to plan what they are going to do with the additional resources once they receive them,” said Michelle A. Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer for United Way of Delaware. “$tand By Me is a great resource available to help individuals and families meet their basic needs, while gaining the financial capacity to plan for their long-term financial goals. United Way of Delaware is proud to be part of great initiatives that empower Delawareans to increase their financial stability and plan for their future so that together, we can achieve our greatest human potential.”
Delawareans can learn more about the EITC and free tax preparation sites in New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties from the organizations joining us today or by visiting revenue.delaware.gov.
You will need the following items to find out if you qualify for the EITC:
- Picture ID and Social Security Cards (no copies)
- Copy of last year’s tax return (if available)
- W-2 and 1099 from your employer
- List of other income/expenses (itemized deductions)
- Childcare information (providers ID number and receipts for amounts paid)
- Blank check or account ID card for direct deposit
- All 1099’s (interest, dividends, state tax refunds, unemployment, government, and miscellaneous income)
- 1098 for education credit, mortgage interest, or property tax
- Form 1095 - Health Insurance Coverage (if applicable)