The state has launched a new website to help families and individuals navigate the EITC. It’s EITC.illinois.gov. Legislation signed in 2012 doubles the state Earned Income Tax Credit over the next two years.
David Marzhal is president of the Center for Economic Progress.
“There’s bad news and good news," says Marzhal. "The bad news is that the federal level taxes actually went up. So, a lot of the low income families that we're serving are going to have an increased bite taken out of their paycheck because the payroll tax credit was eliminated starting January 1st. The good news is that for low and moderate income families in Illinois that will basically be offset by the EITC."
It’s expected to save all working families in Illinois $105 million per year. That breaks down to a savings of $199 for a married couple with three children earning $30,000 per year. A married couple with three children and earning just over $50,000 could be eligible for up to $5,891 in state and federal tax relief.
To benefit from the state EITC, taxpayers must include it on their tax returns.
Marzhal estimates that between 10 and 20 percent of eligible taxpayers did not file for the EITC last year.
“Because of the economy, people losing jobs, and moving up and down the income ladder there may be people who were middle income one year and are low income the next," says Marzhal. "They may have never claimed the EITC. We have those people coming into our offices."
He says many people who are eligible for the EITC simply don’t know they are.
The center also helps families with incomes less than $50,000 file tax returns for free.