PORTLAND, Ore. - To many local families, the Earned Income Credit (EIC) offered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), is a complete mystery. Most are not sure what it is or how to qualify for it.
But now, in honor of Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day taking place on Friday, several dozen local tax authorities are offering free help.
One such group is the accounting students at Concordia University in Northeast Portland. There, several students are offering free tax counseling every Saturday from February through tax day, designed to shed light on many mysteries surrounding tax season including the elusive EIC.
Marie Selby, one such student, is looking forward to providing tax relief to local area families that could use the extra boost in the tough economic times currently facing the U.S.
"I'm really hoping and excited for the opportunity to give people big checks in the mail," said Selby. "You know, send that check to them from the IRS and bring money back to our communities."
Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen, who helped kick off the new Concordia Tax Service Program on Thursday, said it is crucial to get refunds back to the people who need it - money that could boost the local economy.
The EIC is primarily designed to give refunds to lower income families, especially those with children. Historically, thousands of deserving families fail to use the EIC and as a result are losing out on refunds as low as five hundred dollars, but some as high as five thousand dollars.
One of the hardest parts associated with the EIC is simply knowing whether you qualify for this tax credit, which is when services like Concordia's can come in handy, but the IRS has created a special "assistant", as they call it, designed to let families know whether they qualify.
To provide some perspective on who would qualify to take the EIC, families with 3 kids cannot make more than $43,000 per year. For married couples filing jointly with 3 children, the maximum allowed income threshold is $48,000.
So, if you think you may qualify for the EIC, don't wonder any longer, but find out for yourself. You may be rewarded handsomely if you do.
- Cash Oregon: List of Tax Service Sites for Low Income People
- IRS' "special assistant" - Figure out if you are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit
- IRS information page on Earned Income Tax Credit