Under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, more money is available to families and/or individuals with low to moderate incomes. Filing your taxes is how you can claim benefits like the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Families can now receive an increased Child Tax Credit ($3,000 or $3,600, depending on child/dependents age), and more people with low incomes are eligible for a larger EITC.
“The Earned Income Tax Credit benefits families and communities by providing economic support and security for eligible workers with children,” said Orange County Vice Chair Jamezetta Bedford, who is a CPA and works at a local firm doing tax work for small businesses, trusts and estates, nonprofits and individuals. “These EITC dollars are returned to the local economy as residents use their tax credit to pay for necessities like food, rent, utilities, medical expenses, etc. The EITC especially benefits children and is aligned with higher educational and better health outcomes. Many of those eligible do not know to claim this benefit. This tax credit along with the child tax credit are important anti-poverty tools for families.”
Claiming the credit can reduce the tax you owe or give you a larger refund, and the amount of your credit may change if you have children or other dependents, are disabled or meet other criteria.
“The EITC is a great resource for these families,” said Orange County Department of Social Services Director Nancy Coston. “We encourage everyone who is eligible to claim the credit on their tax returns.”
Receiving these benefits will not impact eligibility for other federal benefits (UI, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, SDI, TANF, WIC, Section 8 or Public Housing). Even if you did not earn enough to file taxes, you are eligible for the Child Tax Credit and potentially thousands of additional dollars in benefits.
Orange County Department of Social Services can offer access to computers and help taxpayers with navigating to the sites to file taxes online, but staff are prohibited from helping residents file taxes or providing tax advice. The Orange County Skills Development/Career Center (100 Europa Drive, Suite 101, Chapel Hill) and the Orange Works Employment and Training Center (113 Mayo Street, Hillsborough) have public computers available Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The deadline to file 2021 income taxes is Monday, April 18. For more information and to learn how to get free assistance with filing your taxes, visit www.ChildTaxCredit.gov.