Money & Sense

297

How would you feel if you saw an envelope with your name on it stuffed with over $11,000? If I were you, I would pick it up and bring it home to my family. We could definitely benefit from that money.

Right now there are about 20,000 families in Washington DC, primarily east of the Anacostia River, who are not getting the money that is rightfully theirs. They could use the money to pay for necessities, rent and food and clothes for the kids, or save, invest in a small business, pay down debt, or address other financial goals.

If you worked in 2022 and have kids, you need to know about how the tax system can help you. Let’s make sure that you don’t let Uncle Sam keep your money!

Even though talking about taxes usually causes a headache, it’s extremely important that you know about financially empowering yourself and your family. Did you know that you may be eligible for tax credits that can give you money back and boost your income?

The earned income tax credit (EITC) is available for individuals and families. For the past 45 years, it has made life better for millions of workers throughout America. You may have extra money waiting for you.

If you qualify and claim the credit, it could be worth over $6,900 from the federal government for some workers and their families. Additionally, the District of Columbia has the nation’s most robust state level EITC, which can provide 70% of the tax credit approved by the IRS. This could mean another $4,800 for some workers and their families.

Eligible Washingtonians could make up to $22,610 without kids or $59,187 with kids in 2022 and qualify for the EITC.

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But wait, there is more! The federal child tax credit (CTC) is also available for those who worked in 2022 and earned more than $2,500. The CTC offers up to $2,000 per qualified child. Children must be 16 years old or younger and have a Social Security number (SSN) to be claimed for the CTC. You and your spouse must have an SSN or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).

These tax credits are not a loan. File your federal taxes by April 18, 2023, to receive this income boost.

Because of the pandemic, the EITC and CTC were expanded and made available to more families. That expansion has since ended, BUT here’s the good news – if you were eligible for the 2021 expanded EITC, the 2021 expanded CTC, or any of the three rounds of stimulus checks and didn’t claim them, it’s not too late! You can file prior year taxes up to three years past the original due date.

High-quality, trusted, reliable and free tax preparation services are available for Washingtonians who made up to $60,000 in income last year. For more information on these in-person, virtual and online services, visit www.caab.org/en/dceitc.

At Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) we are committed to assisting Washingtonians learn about and claim the earned income tax credit ‒ at the federal and DC levels ‒ and the child tax credit to boost income and help with the high cost of living.

CAAB is a Washington-based nonprofit organization with a mission to create opportunities for low- and moderate-income individuals in Washington and the greater DC region to build financial security, savings, and wealth. Our DC EITC Campaign provides access to information and informs Washingtonians on free tax preparation services throughout the District and online. The campaign is made possible through support from the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) as well as private-sector partners.

Joseph Leitmann-Santa Cruz is the CEO and executive director of the DC-based nonprofit organization Capital Area Asset Builders.