Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Group says some eligible for tax credit don't apply

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

An estimated 14,000 Cincinnatians did not file for an Earned Income Tax Credit last year, leaving as much as $20 million unclaimed.

The Children's Defense Fund is making an aggressive push as the April 15 filing deadline approaches to encourage families to claim federal money they may be eligible for.

Families earning up to $34,692 can qualify for up to $4,200. To get the entire $4,200, workers must have at least four dependents.

Mason Gray, a spokesman for the Children's Defense Fund, said his organization has been working with the Cincinnati EITC Coalition led by City Councilman David Pepper to make sure eligible families are aware of the tax credit.

There were about 50,000 filings in Cincinnati during 2002 - 2,600 more than the year before. That increase was largely because of the efforts of the partnership, Gray said.

Gray said the earned income tax credit is considered one of the country's largest anti-poverty programs.

About 750,000 Ohio working families could receive a total of $1.2 billion through the program this year.

"It has a double effect," Gray said. "Families receive an extra financial boost, and many locally owned businesses also benefit as a good portion of that money is spent almost immediately on needed goods and services."

Workers may also be eligible for the Child Tax Credit. Workers with children under 17 who earned at least $10,500 in 2003 could get a refund of up to $1,000 a child with the child tax credit.


For more information, contact the Internal Revenue Service at (800) TAX-1040 (www.irs.gov) .


E-mail kaldridge@enquirer.com

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