Many eligible Maine people could overlook valuable tax credits this tax season

5 mins read
Michele Clark of ACAP (Aroostook County Action Program) prepares taxes for a local resident. Photo provided.

AUGUSTA – At tax time, beginning January 29th, hundreds of Maine people are eligible to receive federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and Child Tax Credits, which can provide a much-needed income boost and reduce any federal taxes owed. But, not everyone is aware of their eligibility. People who worked in 2023 could qualify for extra money from these credits which could help more people afford the rising costs of essentials like food, clothing, and shelter. Eligible individuals and families must file a federal tax return by April 17, 2024 in Maine to get these tax benefits.

“The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit can provide a vital income boost worth thousands of dollars to eligible individuals and families in Maine,” says Kelley Glidden, CA$H Maine Coordinator. “Many eligible people have no idea that they qualify for these tax credits or how to get them. We encourage all Mainers to visit cashmaine.org to make a tax filing appointment and get any credits that are due to them.”

The Earned Income Tax Credit helped 95,110 Maine tax filers claim $197,207 in EITCs in 2019. For 2023, each eligible worker aged 25-64 without kids could receive as much as $600, and workers with kids at home could receive up to $7,430. To qualify for the federal EITC, Maine tax filers must have a Social Security number for everyone listed on their tax return and must have earned under $24,210 without kids or less than $63,398 with kids in 2023. A person may be eligible for the EITC if they worked at any point during 2023, even if it was part-time, temporary, or gig work.

The Child Tax Credit helped 63,440 tax filers in Maine claim $108,378 in Child Tax Credit refunds in 2019. Households eligible in 2023 could receive up to $2,000 for each child under 17 years old. Up to $1,600 of the Child Tax Credit is available as a refund to families that earned more than $2,500 in 2023. Adults with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) issued by the IRS who have a child with a Social Security number in their household could be eligible for the credit.

Because of the pandemic, the EITC and Child Tax Credit were expanded and made available to more families in 2021. That expansion has since ended, BUT here’s the good news – if a person was eligible for the 2021 expanded EITC, the 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit, or any of the three rounds of stimulus checks and didn’t claim them, it’s not too late! If someone qualified for and didn’t get the first two stimulus checks, they must file a 2020 tax return by May 17, 2024. Maine people can learn more about filing prior year returns on the IRS website.

CA$H Maine is committed to helping Maine people understand their eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit and how to get these credits when filing their taxes this year.

For people filing for the first time or who need help completing their forms, free resources for support are available:

• Visit cashmaine.org to identify your local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) provider for free tax help from an IRS-certified volunteer.

• Call 211. They may be able to connect you with local IRS-certified free tax filing assistance or virtual help.

• Visit MyFreeTaxes.com or GetYourRefund.org to file your own taxes online.

• If you’re experiencing tax concerns, find your local Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) for free legal help on tax issues with the IRS. You can also make an appointment with your local Taxpayer Assistance Center.

CA$H Maine is a statewide collaboration of nine coalitions, comprised of 50 non- and for-profit partners, working together to help empower Maine individuals and families to achieve long-term financial stability. It is a year-round resource, providing outreach and education about ways to make the most of your money.

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