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Federal tax credit available to more people than most would think, IRS official says

PLATTSBURGH - The federal government may have money waiting for you.

According to Kathy L. McNulty, a representative of the Internal Revenue Service, the federal Earned Income Tax Credit is a credit which many are unaware they qualify for, and, as a result, don't file for, she said.

McNulty was joined by members of the Clinton and Essex County Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition Jan. 29 in recognition of the government's annual Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day. The coalition has been working with the IRS since 2003 to inform taxpayers of the credit, which is available to assist low-income families and individuals.

"The IRS knows that across the country there are only approximately 75 percent of people eligible for the credit that file for it and claim it on their tax return," said McNulty. "So, our efforts are to get the word out to those additional 25 percent that there may be a lot of dollars out there for you if you qualify."

John C. Bernardi, executive director of the United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties Inc., one of the member organizations of the coalition, said it's important for the coalition to continue getting the word out.

"People may be missing out on a federal refund of up to $5,657 because they are not aware of the Earned Income Tax Credit," stated Bernardi. "Our coalition, in partnership with the Franklin County coalition, is working hard to promote the service and reach eligible people and families throughout the region."

McNulty said the 2009 income guidelines allow for slightly more income than in previous years and, with that, the amount available for the EITC has increased , too.

"Each year, that income threshold goes up a little bit," she said.

According to information from the IRS, a taxpayer with three or more qualifying children must have an earned income of no more than $43,279 or $48,279 if married filing jointly. A taxpayer with two qualifying children must have an earned income of no more than $40,295 or $45,295 if married filing jointly. Those with one qualifying child may earn as much as $35,463 or $40,463 if married filing jointly.

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