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L.A. EITC Partnership Launches 2007 Campaign to Help Thousands of Working Families Maximize Tax Refunds and Financial Incentives; Some Can Receive More Than $4,500 Each in Benefits.

Free Tax Prep, e-Filing Services and Wealth-Building Strategies Offered at Sites Throughout County, Allowing Low and Moderate-Income Families to Save Even More

LOS ANGELES -- Today the Greater Los Angeles Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Campaign Partnership launched their 2007 effort to continue increasing the number of EITC filings for qualified taxpayers, which this year can translate to a refund of more than $4,500 for low and moderate-income families with children - a figure that could equal nearly two months of income. The Partnership's local campaign kickoff comes as part of the IRS' national EITC Awareness Day, and encourages local residents to utilize the County's 211 hotline and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites to see if they are qualified to receive the EITC and other benefits.

"The EITC has been found to be the single, most effective means for lifting families above the federal poverty line - a way to make a life-changing difference for working parents which helps them take ownership of their financial futures," says Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Burke, who serves as Chair for the L.A. County Children's Planning Council, the organization leading the EITC Partnership effort. "The EITC is an investment in our working families, our County and our nation, and this campaign marks another step in the journey to help these families begin to build wealth and assets."

Qualifying families - including those where grandparents are raising children and other nontraditional situations - with two or more children can receive refunds a high as $4,536. For those who qualify but have failed to claim the credit in prior years, they may apply for the EITC retroactively for a period of up to three years, for up to $12,000. And for the first time, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be offering the Split Refund Option, which gives taxpayers the option of having their refund directly deposited in up to three financial accounts, such as checking, savings and retirement account, which can help them build assets and financial security.

"The Earned Income Tax Credit and other programs can amount to a substantial refund for working families," says Victor Ramirez, Chair of the EITC Campaign Partnership and Vice President of Citibank. "And through our VITA sites, we are providing those qualifying families with the tools they need to reinvest in their own futures. Affordable banking, financial literacy programs and Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), which provide matching funds for secondary education, small business ownership or home ownership, are just some of the free services available at these sites, which will enable these hardworking families to start building their own wealth for the future."

In addition, qualifying low to moderate-income taxpayers can visit VITA sites to receive free tax preparation and e-filing services, which save them more money and expedite the filing process, so that these individuals and families can receive refunds quickly - and without paying refund anticipation loan (RAL) fees that are often excessive.

To qualify for these services and tax credits, claimants must be qualified working U.S. citizens or legal residents with valid Social Security numbers. If a legal resident with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) meets all of the qualifications, they too are able to retroactively claim the EITC for a period of up to three years once they receive their valid Social Security number.

The benefits for children and working families are clear:

* A family with two or more qualifying children that earns less than $36,348 (or $38,348 if married and filing jointly) are eligible for up to $4,536;

* Families with one qualifying child that earn less than $32,001 (or $34,001 if married and filing jointly) are eligible for up to $2,747; and

* Single workers between the ages of 25-64 who earn less than $12,120 (or $14,120 if married and filing jointly) and have no qualifying children are eligible for $412.

"For several low-income families, the EITC credit could make the difference in keeping the lights on, putting food on the table, and making rent," says Elise Buik, President and CEO of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, a partner organization in the effort who is currently launching a national initiative to focus on strategies that help hardworking individuals and families become more financially secure. "We have the 16th largest economy in the world, but the vast majority of workers are toiling in low-wage jobs that do not provide for basic living costs. The EITC has become the nation's largest anti-poverty program for working families and can help so many more - they just need to learn how to claim it."

For more information or to see if they qualify, individuals and working families can call L.A. County's "211" line or visit the EITC Partnership's web site at

The EITC Campaign Partnership is a broad-based coalition of government agencies, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and financial institutions who have come together to improve the economic status of L.A.'s working families by increasing the number of EITC filings and providing Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Feb 1, 2007
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