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IRS to Offer Earned Income Tax Credit Assistance This Weekend

Get IRS assistance with claiming the EITC, and you could see your tax refund grow this year.The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the federal government's largest benefit programs for working families and individuals. Unfortunately, unlike other benefit programs, the EITC is not automatic. In order to get the credit, taxpayers must file a tax return and specifically claim the credit.

The credit can be confusing for many taxpayers, which is why the IRS has announced that special assistance is available to EITC-eligible taxpayers. The announcement coincided with the fifth Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day on Friday, Jan. 28.

On Saturday, Jan. 29, and Saturday, Feb. 5, the IRS will open selected offices to provide special assistance to EITC-eligible taxpayers. You can find an office in your state by clicking here.

Why go? The IRS estimates that one out of five eligible taxpayers may be missing the credit. Last year, more than 26 million eligible taxpayers received nearly $59 billion from the credit. The maximum credit for 2010 tax returns is $5,666 for those with three or more qualifying children; lesser amounts are available for those with fewer or no qualifying children.If you believe that you might be eligible for the credit, you can use the IRS EITC Assistant, available on the IRS website in English and in Spanish. You should check to see if you're eligible if you made $48,362 or less from wages, self-employment or farm income. If you believe that you qualify and need assistance claiming the credit on your return, you can attend one of the special EITC assistance days or find a taxpayer assistance center near you. When you show up for your appointment, you'll need to bring:

  • Photo identification
  • Valid Social Security cards for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents
  • Birth dates for primary, secondary and dependents on the tax return
  • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • A copy of last year's federal and state returns, if available
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit
  • Other relevant information about income and expenses
  • Total paid for day care
  • Day care provider's identifying number
If you're one of the nearly 6 million taxpayers who missed out on the chance to claim the credit last year, don't make the same mistake twice. The IRS -- and many nonprofit partners -- wants to help you claim the credit and put extra money in your pocket in 2011.

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