Low- to middle-income taxpayers and anyone age 60 or older can receive free tax-filing assistance at:
• Lawrence Senior Center, 745 Vt.: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Call 842-0543.
• Kansas University Law School, in the third-floor library at Green Hall, 1535 W. 15th St.: 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Mondays; 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays, all excluding spring break. Call 864-9227.
• Baldwin City Library, 800 Seventh St., Baldwin City: By appointment; call 843-8137.
Low-wage earners and others in Douglas County will be expected to collect more than $10 million this year from the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
That’s Uncle Sam’s hope, anyway.
“We estimate that one in four taxpayers who are eligible don’t claim it,” said Michael Devine, regional spokesman for the IRS. “We don’t want you to miss a credit that you’re eligible for.”
Last year, some 5,775 county taxpayers claimed the credit on their tax returns and received a combined total of $9.46 million. That worked out to an average of $1,637 per filer.
Statewide, more than 186,000 Kansans received a combined $361 million last year.
Still, IRS officials say that plenty of people who could rightfully receive such a credit — with maximums ranging from up to $457 for someone with no children to as much as $5,657 for a family with three or more qualifying children— never do so.
For information about the credit — including specific eligibility requirements and filing instructions — taxpayers may visit IRS.gov/eitc. But taxpayers generally can claim the credit on their returns for the 2009 tax year if they have:
• More than three qualifying children and earn less than $43,279.
• Two qualifying children and earn less than $40,295.
• One qualifying child and earn less than $35,463.
• No children and earn less than $13,440.
Each of the limits rise by $5,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly.
Among people who often fail to claim the credit despite being eligible to do so, Devine said: non-English speakers, people who have earned income but are not required to file a tax return, taxpayers without children, rural residents, new parents, foster parents and grandparents raising grandchildren.
“Last year was, economically, the most unusual we’ve seen in a long time — in our lifetimes,” Devine said. “It’s very possible that grandparents are caring for grandchildren, their incomes may be low enough to qualify and they may not even know this credit exists.”