State Senator Leticia Van De Putte, District 26

For Immediate Release
February 9, 2006

OP-ED

Earned Income Tax Credit:
You May Qualify

This is a busy time of year for many families and it is the time to prepare for filing your annual income tax returns. In the hope of assisting many of you, I would like to remind you of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) this tax season. The EITC is a tax credit for working individuals and families who earned under $37,263 last year. A tax credit usually means more money for you and your family. It reduces or can eliminate the amount of tax you owe.

The money from utilizing this tax credit can help the quality of life for individuals and families that work hard, but do not always have enough money to make ends meet or save for something special. This credit can help families to achieve their financial goals and give them the resources to save for a home or for home improvement, to put a down payment on a car or to be used for a college education -- for themselves or their child. The average tax refund in San Antonio is $1,900, but it can be as high as $4,400 for a family with two or more qualifying children.

Many eligible recipients are unaware of the EITC. In fact it is estimated that 23 percent of San Antonio families who qualify do not file for it, resulting in more than $86 million in unclaimed federal dollars back in your pocket. Others who are aware may utilize a tax preparation service that offers money back quickly, but at a very costly fee to not only the tax payer but for our community and state. It means that families have less money to buy necessary items for their children and therefore less EITC is invested back in to our local economy.

In a continued effort to get the word out, this week I am joining forces with the San Antonio Coalition for Economic Progress (SACFEP) and the United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County to hold a press conference and you are invited too. We want to stress the importance of the EITC and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The VITA program offers free quality tax preparation services. The press conference is open to the public and will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16 at Sul Ross Middle School, located at 3630 Callaghan. If you are unable to attend you can still find out if you qualify for the EITC, find a VITA site near you or can even volunteer to prepare taxes for others by calling the United Way Help line at 2-1-1 or (210) 227-4357.

Texans have always had a reputation as productive and hardworking people, but don't let added dollars that you have earned go wasted. If you qualify for the EITC take advantage of this opportunity. You deserve it!

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