More eligible for earned income tax credit - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

More eligible for earned income tax credit

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- With national unemployment sitting at 10 percent and the Iowa unemployment rate sitting at 6.6 percent, many people are probably dreading tax season more than in the past. But this year, that high unemployment rate could mean a lot more money in people's pocket because of a relatively unused tax credit.

Becky Jenkins has been busy this year. Though early in the tax season, she's trying to get the word out about earned income tax credit, also know at EITC

"And since the income guidelines have gone up this year they'll be able to get claim more on the credit and get a bigger amount returned to them," said Jenkins.

The EITC is for low to moderate income individuals and this year it means some people can earn up to a $5000 credit. 

Here's how it works:

If you're raising one child and your family income less than $35,000 ($40,000 if married) then your EITC is $3,043.

Two children with a family income less than $40,000 ($45,000 if married) you'd get $5,028.

Three or more children and a family income less than $43,000 ($48,000 if married) you can get $5,657

And if you don't have any children and make less that $13,000 ($18,000 working) then you can et $457.

So how might this be different this year than last?

"Because of the way the economy is, if they've lost hours," said Jenkins.

Or if you've lost your job and have been receiving unemployment. That money doesn't count towards earned income. The combination of new guidelines and a bad economy means many more can qualify.

"We like to say it's your money, you earned it, claim it and keep it," said Jenkins.

Or save it. Experts say if you don't' absolutely need to spend it, save. And by the way, unlike the Federal flood tax credits last year, EITC will not affect how you file next year.

"They're going back into your pocket this year but they're not affecting your tax return next year," said Jenkins.

Jenkins says you can also save money by getting free tax assistance at a free filing tax clinic.

In Dubuque those free clinics are at the following locations:

St. Matthew Luther Church (AARP)
1780 White Street
February 1 through April 14
Monday through Friday
12:30 pm to 3:30 pm - Walk-ins only

University of Dubuque
2000 University Avenue
Monday, February 22nd from 3:30 pm to 8:00 pm, Thursday March 4th from 3:30 pm to 8:00 pm
563-589-3644 and leave a message and contact information at the recording. Appointment only.

Loras College
1450 Alta Vista
February 2 through March 23
Tuesdays only
563-588-7695 - appointment only

Hills and Dales Lifetime Center (AARP)
3505 Stoneman Road
February 2 through April 14
Tuesday through Friday
9:00 am to 2:00 pm
563-585-0560 - appointment only

Be sure to bring a valid photo ID, Social Security Cards, birth dates for you and each member on your return, W-2's for all jobs in 2009 and any other tax related documents, a copy of last years tax return, college tuition and student loan interest statements, a blank check if you want direct deposit for you refund.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Follow Lauren on Twitter.

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