Income tax credits available for working families

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Qualifications based on amily size, income

By Theresa Howard

Many families continue to struggle with day-to-day expenses, avoiding utility shut-offs, evictions, mortgage foreclosures and rising debt. Working individuals and families need to know that help may be available when they file their 2010 tax return.

If you worked full-time or part-time during 2009 and you had low to moderate income, you may qualify for the Earned Income Credit. You may also receive the Child Tax Credit if you had children living with you for at least half of the year. If you qualify you owe less in taxes and you may get cash back. Also, some people who don’t owe taxes can get the Earned Income Credit. However, to get these credits, you must file a tax return.

The Earned Income Credit could put as much as $5,028 into the pockets of a family with two children, or send as much as $3,043 to a family with one child, or up to $457 for a worker with no children. This year workers raising three or more children in their home in 2009 can get an EIC of up to $5,657. While the amount varies with your circumstances, the IRS estimates that 20-25 percent of eligible taxpayers fail to claim the credit. The extra dollars that taxpayers can get through EIC can make their lives a little easier. Some individuals and families may qualify for the first time because of unemployment or other changes in their financial, marital or parental status during the past year.

Some examples of workers who can qualify for the EIC include: workers who have two children in their home and had income of less than $40,295 (or $45,295 for married workers); workers raising one child with income of less than $35,463 (or $40,463 for married workers); or workers with no children who earned less than $13,440 (or $18,440 for married workers). Workers who were raising three or more children in their home in 2009 and had income of less than $43,279 (or $48,279 for married workers) could get an EIC of up to $5,657. Workers within these categories should check to see if they qualify.