During the tax season, 211 Community Resource specialists receive an influx of callers searching for help preparing and filing their taxes. With inflation and the ever-rising cost of living, budgets are tight for many local individuals and families. Taking advantage of all available tax deductions is critical for saving extra cash on taxes this year.
Tax credits especially make a difference for ALICE and poverty-level households. The most common credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) provide important relief for households with children. Many fail to take advantage of these credits, leaving thousands of dollars unclaimed. Don’t make this mistake and take advantage of this important credit.
To see if you are eligible, here are the basic EITC qualifying rules:
- Have worked and earned income below $59,187
- Have investment income below $10,300 in the tax year 2022
- Have a valid Social Security number by the due date of your 2022 return (including extensions)
- Be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien all year
- Not file Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income
- Meet certain rules if you are separated from your spouse and not filing a joint tax return
The EITC also has special qualifying rules for military members, clergy members, and taxpayers and their relatives with disabilities.
Read more about the specific income guidelines and filing requirements. Need help in determining your eligibility? Try out the EITC Assistant on the IRS website.
How to Claim the EITC
First, you’ll need to file a federal tax return and include the required documentation. Here are the IRS instructions for how to claim the EITC. If you’re looking at the list and think you could use some help with gathering and submitting the correct paperwork, consider working with an IRS-certified VITA volunteer.
VITA, an acronym for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, is a service that helps low-to-moderate income individuals and families prepare and file their taxes for free. There are several VITA sites across the state of Hawai‛i that are supported by local tax professionals who are volunteering their time to the community. Having a trained professional who can help you claim all the benefits and tax credits that you are eligible for will likely save you countless dollars and time.
If you or someone you know could benefit from support from the VITA program, please share HawaiiTaxHelp.org. If you are in need of further financial assistance, please connect with the 211 Statewide Helpline to find helpful resources near you.