Governor Steve Beshear today joined local officials and representatives from regional Asset Building Coalitions at Berea College to launch his annual campaign to urge eligible Kentuckians to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable federal tax credit for low- and middle-income working individuals and families.
"This tax credit is an extremely valuable resource for thousands of Kentuckians who are employed, but earn low wages," said Gov. Beshear. "We want to make certain that every Kentuckian who is eligible for this benefit receives it, so I encourage everyone filing taxes this season to visit our website to see if you of your family qualify for the EITC."
In tax year 2013, Kentuckians filed nearly 401,000 EITC claims for more than $923 million in benefits statewide. The average awarded credit was $2,299. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), an estimated 15 to 20 percent of eligible workers still do not claim their EITC benefits, mostly due to lack of awareness.
Gov. Beshear announced a list of nearly 200 free tax preparation sites across the state where trained and IRS-certified volunteers will assist Kentuckians with filing their taxes and applying for EITC. To find information about these Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, including addresses, phone numbers and if appointments are required, visit http://assistance.ky.gov/.
Additionally, Kentuckians living in central and northern Kentucky areas can dial 2-1-1 to find information on VITA sites near them. Counties who can access 2-1-1 include Anderson, Boone, Bourbon, Bullitt, Campbell, Carroll, Clark, Fayette, Grant, Henry, Jefferson, Jessamine, Kenton, Madison, Montgomery, Nelson, Oldham, Scott, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble and Woodford.
For information about VITA sites outside the 2-1-1 calling area, taxpayers may call Community Action Kentucky at (800) 456-3452.
Eligibility for the EITC is based on income and household composition, as is the amount of the credit. Families who earned up to $51,567 in 2013 could be eligible for EITC. More detailed qualification information is available at http://assistance.ky.gov/.
Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson helped highlight National EITC Awareness Day by participating in an event today at the Louisville Asset Building Coalition, which provides free tax service to the Louisville region. Since 2001, the organization has served more than 80,000 families and returned more than $86.5 million dollars to Louisville and Kentucky.
"With an estimated 20 percent of eligible Kentucky workers still not claiming their EITC benefits, it's imperative we raise awareness about this tax credit," Lt. Gov. Abramson said. "It's money that's re-circulated and reinvested in our communities across the state."
The Governor and Lt. Governor applauded the many organizations across the state working to bring awareness and provide easily accessible and free tax assistance to Kentuckians. Gov. Beshear gave special recognition to the Eastern Kentucky Asset Building Coalition (EKABC) for leading the EITC awareness effort in 2014.
"Informing Eastern Kentuckians about the EITC is especially important because many counties in the region have low per capita income rates and thus have thousands of eligible EITC recipients," said Gov. Beshear. "Thank you to Berea College and all the members of the EKABC for their leadership and efforts in spreading the word about this valuable tax credit."
"The goal of the VITA program is to provide families with opportunities for economic empowerment by helping them to avoid high preparation fees while providing financial education and asset building opportunities," said Tracy Featherly, Berea College VITA site coordinator. "In my experience, most eligible families are unaware of the beneficial programs that VITA offers, so it is important for us to develop our outreach to more families that really need these services."
Other statewide EITC awareness partners and coalitions include the IRS, the United Way of Kentucky, Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, Community Action Kentucky, Department of Revenue, AARP Tax Aide, Central Kentucky Economic Empowerment Project, Louisville Asset Building Coalition, Green River Asset Building Coalition, Barren River Asset Building Coalition, Eastern Kentucky Asset Building Coalition, Northern Kentucky Asset Building Coalition, Northeast Kentucky Asset Building Coalition and the Purchase Area Asset Building Coalition.