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Controller Chiang Promotes Federal Earned Income Tax Credit

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Public Affairs Office
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For Immediate Release

02.03.2011

State Controller John Chiang today announced that many Californians may be eligible for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which can deliver an instant refund of more than $5,600 to low and moderate-income individuals and families. Free tax preparation sites are available to help people claim the credit by filing their tax returns to show eligibility.

“This credit quickly puts money in the pocketbooks of families who may be struggling in today's economy,” said Chiang, who also chairs the Franchise Tax Board. “But the credit can only be claimed through a tax return, so we are doing all we can to get the word out and help with their paperwork.”

The Federal Earned Income Tax Credit is a tax incentive for low-to-moderate-income individuals and families. For the 2010 tax return due this spring, taxpayers earning less than $48,362 can qualify. Depending on eligibility, the credit can be worth up to $5,666.

Controller Chiang coordinates volunteer tax-filing assistance each year for California taxpayers who are eligible for the EITC. In the past four years, these efforts have helped more than 2,500 taxpayers claim $3 million in credits and refunds. Appointments can be made by calling the Controller's office at 213.833.6010.

The Controller asked the FTB to work more closely with the Federal Government to improve delivery of the EITC. The FTB and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have formed a working partnership to improve EITC delivery. The IRS last fall mailed 46,000 California taxpayers who may be eligible for the credit in the 2009 filing year.

Taxpayers earning $48,000 or less in calendar year 2009, or less than $42,000 in calendar year 2008 should also check their returns to see if they qualified for this credit in either of those years. Taxpayers can file amended returns to claim past years' credits. Individuals who did not file a return because their earnings were less than the filing requirement may qualify for the credit as well. Taxpayers can find more information on credit eligibility at www.irs.gov.

The Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has more than 1,000 tax assistance centers open statewide. These sites offer free help with tax form preparation and EITC eligibility. Some offer services in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean. For information on locations throughout California, visit ftb.ca.gov and click on the VITA/TCE filing assistance link.

For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit: taxes.ca.gov.

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