Those without children are also eligible for the credit under certain restrictions. Taxpayers ages 25-65 are eligible if they have an earned income not greater than $13,440 for an individual or $18,440 for those married filing jointly.
One of the most common misconceptions about the EITC is people tend to think their income "needs to be lower than it truly needs to be," said McNulty.
"Some people also think their income is so low that they don't need to file an income tax return. That's a real big mistake because if you qualify and you don't file, you're not going to get this credit," she said. "It's important you do file."
McNulty said an easy way to file is through free tax preparation sites hosted by the Clinton and Essex County Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition in the two-county region. The sites are operated by trained volunteers, she said, and offer electronic filing for faster refunds.
In Clinton County, tax preparation is available on a walk-in basis only at the Senior Citizens Council of Clinton County senior center, 5139 N. Catherine St., Plattsburgh. During the month of February, the site is open Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and Wednesday and Thursday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. The site will be closed Monday, Feb. 15, in observance of Presidents Day. Hours will be limited beginning in March.
In Essex County, tax preparation is offered at OneWorkSource, 103 Hand Ave., Elizabethtown; Lake Placid Public Library, 2471 Main St., Lake Placid; and St. Patrick's Parish Center, 17 St. Patrick Place, and Sherman Free Library, 20 Church St., both in Port Henry.
All sites in Essex County, with the exception of Lake Placid Public Library, require appointments by calling 1-800-675-2668 in advance. Appointments are required at the Lake Placid Public Library by calling 523-3200.