Friday, March 10, 2006

Rep Leibowitz Urges Taxpayers to File Earned Income Tax Credit

Press Release from Representative Leibowitz office:

State Representative David Leibowitz today launched a public awareness campaign to encourage qualified taxpayers to ask for refunds under the federal Earned Income Tax Credit program, saying that Texas taxpayers are leaving nearly $1.2 billion per year in federal funds on the table by failing to file for the dollars they deserve.

"If you qualify for a credit, you're cheating yourself and your family if you don't apply for it," said Leibowitz (D-San Antonio). "It's your money. Don't you want it back?"

Leibowitz said the Earned Income Tax Credit is available to any Texan who had a job during the 2005 tax year and earned less than $11,750 if single and with no qualifying children or less than $35,263 if married with more than one qualifying child.

Some 2.1 million Texans filed for the EITC last year, Leibowitz said, bringing more than $4 billion into the state economy. The average credit for qualifying workers with eligible children came to $4,300. Workers without children received credits up to $382, depending on their income.

Leibowitz said data on unclaimed EITC refunds shows that nearly one-quarter of those who qualify fail to file for the credit.

"This is a well-deserved bonus that can help a family cover the costs of back-to-school supplies, a new appliance, or other needs," Leibowitz. "And because the credits generally get spent in retail outlets in the community, it's also a boon to small businesses and the local economy."

Earned income includes taxable wages, salaries, and tips, as well as net earnings from self-employment, combat zone compensation for military personnel, and strike benefits paid by labor organizations to their members, Leibowitz said.

In addition, Leibowitz said, the IRS has special rules that apply to members of the clergy, taxpayers with disability retirement income, and those who have been displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Leibowitz said area employers can do their part by making sure their workers know about the tax credit and make it easy to obtain the necessary W-5 form.


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