You may qualify to get up to $5,600 back from IRS and not know it. The agency estimates one in four eligible taxpayers could miss out on the Earned Income Tax Credit - or EITC - simply because they don't claim it.
EITC can be a financial boost for working people hit by hard economic times. Eligibility is based on several factors including the source and amount of your income, or combined income if married, whether you have qualifying children and how many. Children are not required, but they increase the amount of your credit. Through new legislation, families with three or more children can get even more money.
If you had less than $48,000 in income from wages, self-employment or farming in 2009, you may qualify. Use IRS's online EITC Assistant to determine your eligibility and amount of your credit. You must file a tax return, even if you aren't otherwise required, and claim the EITC to get it.
No-cost help is available. Volunteer income tax assistance sites or IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers will prepare your return at no charge. To locate a volunteer site, call your community's 211 or 311 number for local services or call the IRS at 1-800-906-9887.
See if your state also has an EITC.