You might not have it on your calendars, but today marks National Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day. Not ringing any bells? Please let me explain why this is of critical importance to our region.
Every year thousands of low-income individuals in our community fail to access valuable tax credits aimed at boosting their incomes. In fact, according to the Internal Revenue Service, 20 to 25 percent of those eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (a credit targeted toward low-income working families) fail to claim it every year. If this is true in Allegheny County, it means that our residents fail to tap as much as $38 million every year -- money meant to go into the pockets of hard-working families and into our local economy. The federal Earned Income Tax Credit is available for working families with incomes of up to $48,279. The amount of the credit can be as much as $5,657 -- that's 41/2 months' pay for someone working full time at minimum wage!
Please join the United Way and our partners through the Money in Your Pocket Coalition (Just Harvest, Parental Stress Center, Goodwill Industries and United Cerebral Palsy) as we seek to raise awareness about this critical community resource and provide free tax services to low-income people.
Now is not the time for us to allow funds of this magnitude to go unclaimed by those who have earned them. For more information about how to get involved during this tax filing season, please contact United Way's HelpLine at (412) 255-1155.
President and Chief Professional Officer
United Way of Allegheny County