The Department of Health and Social Services is encouraging working individuals and families in Delaware to meet with volunteer tax preparers at locations across the state to determine if they are eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and to file a federal tax return by April 15 if they are.
In January, DHSS sent out notices to clients who might be eligible for the EITC. To be eligible, an individual or couple must have earned income from a job and meet other requirements. Income can come from salaries, wages, tips, commissions, royalties, self-employment net earnings, jury duty pay, union strike benefits, non-taxable combat pay or long-term disability benefits before the minimum retirement age.
“For thousands of working families and their children in Delaware, the Earned Income Tax Credit is a proven benefit, lifting many families out of poverty,” said DHSS Secretary Kara Odom Walker. “We urge individuals and families to meet with tax preparers across the state to help determine if they are eligible for this important tax credit and to file their tax returns.”
To qualify for EITC, for example, a single parent of two qualifying children must have earned income and adjusted gross income of less than $45,802 in 2018. For a married couple filing jointly with two qualifying children, the limit is less than $51,492. Other income requirements:
— A single parent with three or more children: $49,194, or $54,884 if married and filing jointly.
— A single parent with one child: $40,320, $46,010 if married and filing jointly.
— Single, with no children: $15,270, $20,950 if married and filing jointly.
The refundable tax credit means that tax filers are likely to get back more from the federal government than they pay in taxes, so they are in line for a significant refund. In Delaware in 2018, about 71,000 eligible workers and families received about $171 million through the Earned Income Tax Credit, with an average credit of $2,401. In the U.S., about 25 million eligible workers and families received about $63 billion through the EITC in 2018, with an average credit of $2,488.
The list of Delaware Tax and Financial Services Campaign Sites open through April 15:
— Claymont Library (drop-off only), 400 Lenape Way, Claymont; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
— Northeast State Service Center, 1624 Jessup St., Wilmington; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
— Woodlawn Library (Spanish speakers available), 2020 W. Ninth St., Wilmington; 3 to 8 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
— Route 9 Library and Innovation Center, 3022 New Castle Ave., New Castle; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays.
— Hudson State Service Center, 501 Ogletown Road, Newark; Noon to 8 p.m. Mondays; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
— Williams State Service Center, 805 River Road, Dover; Noon to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays.
— Goodwill of Delaware-Milford, 694 N. Dupont Highway, Milford; 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
— First State Community Action Agency-Georgetown (Spanish speakers available), 308 N. Railroad Ave., Georgetown; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
— My Free Taxes-$tand By Me Delaware, for online self-prepared returns, myfreetaxesde.org.
Fitzgerald said individuals and couples who plan to go to tax preparation sites need to bring driver’s license or another form of photo ID; Social Security cards for self, spouse, children and other dependents listed on the tax return; W-2s, 1095s, 1098s and 1099s; list of other income/expenses, for possible itemized deductions; child care information, provider’s EIN number, address and receipts for amounts paid; bank account information for direct deposit; and a copy of last year’s return if available.
A growing body of research has found that the EITC increases incentives to work, stabilizes income, is linked to improvement in maternal and infant health, leads to better performance by children in school and increases work effort and earnings when children reach adulthood. The IRS estimates that 20 percent to 25 percent of qualifying workers do not receive the tax credit because they do not file a federal return to claim it.
In Delaware, volunteers are needed at tax sites. Those interested can visit nehemiahgateway.org to sign up.