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New multilingual brochure educates consumers on Earned Income Tax Credit

Consumer Action urges consumers who qualify to get credit for their hard work

Consumer Action today released a multilingual brochure to educate people about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which helps low income, working taxpayers get more money back when they file their federal income tax forms. CA has created a free EITC series, which includes a multilingual brochure titled "Get Credit for Your Hard Work: Low Income Working Taxpayers May Qualify for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit" and a backgrounder manual that expands on the information in the brochure. The brochures are available in English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Spanish.

"For the 2004 tax year, EITC credits can be as high as $390 for childless taxpayers or up to $4,300 for taxpayers with children," said Ken McEldowney, executive director of CA. "Eligible individuals and families can spend their credits any way they want or put the money in a savings account." The brochure explains how to determine if you are eligible for the credit, gives income guidelines for eligible taxpayers and tells low income working taxpayers that they can get advance EITC payments in their paychecks. A list of helpful resources is also included. (Click here to jump to our one-page resource list.)

Consumer Action is distributing the fact sheets in bulk through its national network of more than 7,300 community-based organizations. The backgrounder manual, "Questions & Answers about the Earned Income Tax Credit," is designed to help staff members at community organizations answer client questions. The organizations in CA's network serve recent immigrants, low income consumers, the elderly and people of color. English and Spanish versions of the fact sheet are available on Consumer Action's web site (www.consumer-action.org).

The brochures will be mailed to people who send a legal-sized envelope with 60 cents postage to Consumer Action EITC, 717 Market Street, Suite 310, San Francisco, CA 94103. People who want the brochure in a language other than English should indicate that in their request. Consumer Action makes the EITC series available nationally through a grant from the Bank of America Consumer Education Fund (BACEF).

Administered by The San Francisco Foundation, the fund was created in 1989 to promote and assist Californians with effective methods of using financial services.

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Consumer Action is a non-profit advocacy and education organization that has served consumers since 1971. Consumer Action has a national reputation for multilingual consumer education and advocacy in the fields of credit, banking, insurance, and HMOs. It distributes two million educational brochures annually through its national network of community organizations. For more information, contact: Consumer Action, Ken McEldowney, 415-777-9648 or Linda Sherry, 202-544-3088 (Chinese and Spanish speakers are available.) Bank of America, Greg Barnard, 202-624-4210; [email protected]

It's tax time again: Get the credit you deserve

This list of resources was prepared by Consumer Action (www.consumer-action.org). CA offers a free Earned Income Tax Credit brochure that includes information on how to determine if you are eligible for the credit, gives income guidelines for eligible taxpayers and explains how to get advance EITC payments in your paycheck. AARP Tax-Aide www.aarp.org, 888-227-7669 AARP Tax-Aide is a tax-counseling program for low-to-middle income people, with special attention to people aged 60 and older. I-CAN!EIC www.icanefile.org This free web-based application in English and Spanish was designed by the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, California to help low-wage earners determine eligibility for the EITC, complete their federal tax forms and submit them to the IRS electronically.

For 2004, the program can complete state tax returns for people living in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana and North Carolina. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) www.irs.gov, 800-829-1040 The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the federal government agency responsible for collecting income taxes.

The IRS EITC Assistant The IRS EITC Assistant is an online tool to help you find out if you are eligible for the EITC. In the search box on the IRS web site (www.irs.gov), enter EITC Assistant to find this tool. IRS-sponsored Low Income Taxpayer Clinics In the search box on the IRS home page (www.irs.gov), enter Low Income Taxpayer Clinics to find a list of clinics in your area.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly Call the IRS at 800-829-1040 The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program provides free tax help to people age 60 and older. Trained volunteers from non-profit organizations offer free tax counseling and basic income tax return preparation to senior citizens. Volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS. National Taxpayer Advocate Help Line 877-777-4778, TTY: 800-829-4059 www.irs.gov/advocate.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS. VITA and Military VITA Call the IRS at 800-829-1040 VITA is an IRS-sponsored program that offers free tax preparation to low income people with annual incomes of $35,000 or below who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Most locations also offer free electronic filing of tax returns. Airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines and guardsmen and their families worldwide can get free tax help through the Military VITA Program. Counselors are trained on tax issues specific to the military, such as combat zone tax benefits and the effect of the new Earned Income Tax Credit guidelines.


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