With the Earned Income Tax Credit, tax time means getting ahead for many families struggling to get

Statewide Claim it! campaign is focused on helping low-income Minnesotans claim tax credits that significantly boost their income and use free tax preparation sites to do so.
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* St. Paul - Minnesota - US

Feb. 14, 2013 - PRLog -- For many families, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) means food on the table, gas to get to work, and a start to savings. According to the IRS, last year Minnesota families received on average nearly $2,000 through the Earned Income Tax Credit, a federal income tax credit for low–to–moderate income working individuals and families. Claim it!, a statewide awareness campaign, is working to make sure that no family leaves their credit unclaimed.

According to the IRS, the EITC is a refundable tax credit to help working taxpayers keep more of the income they’ve earned. Who is eligible and how does the credit work? “Individuals must have earned income, and there are specific income guidelines,” says Andrea Ferstan, director of Income Strategies for Greater Twin Cities United Way. For example, a married couple filing jointly with three children can earn up to $50,000 a year and still qualify for the credit. She continues, “Although the credit averages $2,000 per family, some may receive up to $5,891.”

The boost in income that the EITC and other tax credits provides means that these families have food, rent, and a safety net to fall back on should an emergency happen in the year to come.  According to the Brookings Institution, the EITC is the country’s most effective anti-poverty tool lifting 6.3 million people above the poverty line in 2010.

AccountAbility Minnesota is one of the more than 250 free tax preparation sites across the state that will be serving over 100,000 families this tax season. Various tax sites also offer free financial services such as access to savings accounts, prepaid debit cards, benefits screening, credit reports and one-on-one financial planning.

“Tax time can be an important money moment for so many hardworking families,” said Tracy Fischman, executive director of AAM. “Tax credits like the EITC significantly boost the incomes of hard-pressed families – sometimes by 40 percent – and with free tax services they are able to keep their entire refund and hopefully, also save a portion of it.”

According to the IRS, only four out of five people eligible for the EITC are claiming it, making it extremely important to help inform all those who are eligible. With more than 250 organizations working together through the Claim it! campaign to get the word out to low-and-moderate-income families, the partners’ goal is to increase the number of families who “claim” their tax credits.

Free tax preparation services are available to individuals earning $30,000 or less, and families earning $50,000 or less. There are several ways to locate a free tax preparation site: call United Way 2-1-1 by dialing 2-1-1 or 651-291-0211 from cell phone or landline; toll-free 1-800-543-7709; or visit www.211unitedway.org/ and http://www.youclaimit.org.
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Location:St. Paul - Minnesota - United States
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