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January 21, 2000

Ryan Encourages Families To File For Earned Income Tax Credit

CHICAGO - Governor George H. Ryan is encouraging moderate and lower-income working families to take advantage of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that can result in cash refunds to those who qualify.

"Every working family in Illinois needs to find out if they are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit," Ryan said. "We need to work to get the word out to these families, because it seems that the biggest problem is that many people have never heard of the EITC."

In 1999, more than 740,000 Illinois families received a federal EITC, bringing $1.2 billion to the state from the federal treasury. Estimates indicate that 150,000 additional families in Illinois may qualify for the EITC. Total funds available to Illinois residents could exceed $250 million in tax credits. These funds are retroactive for three years. In order to qualify for the credit, families need to file federal tax forms, even if they do not owe taxes.

Single or married people earning no more than $30,580 with more than one qualifying child will receive a $3,816 tax credit. Those earning no more than $26,928 with one qualifying child will receive a $2,312 tax credit. Single or married filers earning no more than $10,200 without qualifying children will receive a $347 tax credit. If the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, then the taxpayer will receive a cash refund. Last year, the average EITC was more than $1,500.

Ryan said electronic filing is the most efficient processing method, and revisions to the process provide four options for taxpayers: internet filing, touch-tone telephone filing, electronic filing, and filing with the use of retail software. Taxes can also be billed to a credit card and refunds may be directly deposited in an account.

The Tax Counseling Project is again offering low-income taxpayers free preparation and advice. "More people have moved from welfare to work and that has increased the number of taxpayers. Some of these people are filing their taxes for the first time," said David Marzahl, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Human Services, which operates the Tax Counseling Project. "We want to insure that people who qualify for the EITC can access this valuable tax credit." For further information about the Tax Counseling Project and their 21 operating sites across the state call (888) 827-8511.


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