For Immediate Release - February 21, 2013

State Promotes Earned Income Tax Credit

Massachusetts Consumers May Qualify for Increased Federal Income Tax Refunds

BOSTON – The Division of Banks encourages taxpayers to explore the benefits of the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit as the tax season begins, which in 2012 helped more than 386,000 Massachusetts consumers save an average of $1,950 on their 2011 federal income tax returns.

Last year, over 26.5 million taxpayers nationwide received $60.7 billion as a credit on their 2011 federal income tax returns. Massachusetts taxpayers who also claim the credit on their state income tax return can also receive 15 percent of the computed federal credit.

“We encourage qualifying consumers to take advantage of this program,” said Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Barbara Anthony. “Last year, consumers were able to put thousands of dollars back in their pockets by filing for this credit.”

In 2012, the total amount of the Earned Income Tax Credit paid to Massachusetts consumers was $725 million. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit intended to help low- and moderate-income workers hold onto more of their income.

“Receiving a higher income tax refund can have an incredible impactin this economy,” said David J. Cotney, the Commissioner of Banks.  “It is important for consumers to be aware of this benefit and have the knowledge to claim the Earned Income Tax Return on their 2012 Federal Income Tax Returns.”

Potential qualifying workers include people who live in rural areas, are self-employed, receive certain disability pensions or have children with disabilities, are without a qualifying child, are not proficient in English, are grandparents raising grandchildren or are recently divorced, unemployed or experienced other changes to their marital, financial or parental status.  Taxpayers can find out if they are eligible for the credit by visiting the IRS EITC Assistant.

To learn more about EITC, free help is available through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program. The VITA program offers free tax help to low- and moderate-income consumers (generally $50,000 and below) who cannot prepare their own tax returns. For more information on this program, you can contact the IRS at (800) 906-9887.  The TCE program provides free assistance to those 60 years old or older, and can be reached at (800) 829-1040. 

The Division of Banks is an agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and oversees state-chartered banks and credit unions, check sellers, debt collectors, foreign transmittal agencies, mortgage lenders and brokers.  Follow the Office of Consumer Affairs at itsblog, on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.