By Rosie Allen-Herring
Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC Awareness Day on Jan. 27, can be seen as the launch of tax season. EITC is a refundable tax credit available to qualifying lower-wage workers and their families. Childless workers younger than 25 are eligible for Maryland EITC (only childless workers aged between 25 and 64 years old are generally eligible for the federal EITC). Maryland’s refundable credit for families with children is 45 percent for tax years 2020 through 2022.
United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA) is leading a regional coalition of partners working on this effort to provide VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) sites throughout the DMV region, 65 of which are located in Maryland. Trained and qualified IRS tax professionals are available to work free of charge with individuals with an annual income of $59,187 or less to determine if they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) to help them claim these tax credits, which can result in a larger tax refund.
Free VITA programs are also available through United Way National Capital Area’s (NCA) region-wide powerful network of Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs), including referrals for VITA programming at the Prince George’s Community College FEC, 301 Largo Road, Chesapeake Hall Room 108, Largo, Md., 20774. FECs also offer free financial coaching, small business counseling, workshops and more year-round.
The IRS estimates that 20 percent of tax filers don’t claim their EITC, which is why United Way NCA partners with the IRS’ VITA program to ensure that our community members have access to qualified tax preparers who can ensure they have explored and applied for EITC credits. A motivating fact, in Maryland, the average VITA tax refund is $1,304.
United Way NCA’s Financial Empowerment Centers (FEC) will offer free tax services until April 15, 2023. To learn more about EITC, community members are encouraged to register for the United Way NCA’s Change Makers webinar, “VITA/EITC Programs and Their Impact on Advancing Equity.” The Change Makers Education Series convenes thought leaders in conversations focused on trends in the National Capital Area and solutions that advance equity in the region. To register for the Change Makers webinar and review the available resources, please visit https://unitedwaynca.org/changemakers/.
Until we reach financial equity for all in the DMV, United Way NCA will continue to invest in IRS-trained professionals to help our residents receive free tax preparation services each year. We believe everyone should have access to financial professionals with the know-how to maximize tax credits, receive the largest tax refund possible. Our professionals will guide residents on the best ways to use those funds to pay off debt, invest in a home, or contribute to generational wealth that can transform the future of their families. We truly believe that when none are ignored, all will thrive.
Rosie Allen Herring is the president and CEO of United Way National Capital Area (NCA).
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