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Tax Deadline Nears: Californians Leaving Millions Unclaimed

April 11, 2008

Sacramento, CA - Free help and free money. Those two things may motivate Californians to meet the April 15th tax deadline. This year's national economic stimulus plan means an extra tax rebate for many in the state, but there's also another way to get more money. It's the Earned Income Tax Credit, and thousands of eligible Californians are failing to claim it.

Zenae Scott, an Earned Income Tax Credit consultant, says that money can help working families make ends meet.

"The credit is for low- and moderate-income workers, and it is definitely under-filed and not utilized as it should be. About 15 percent to maybe 30 percent of workers are not claiming the credit."

Californians are encouraged to take advantage of free services like the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance centers set up throughout the state. Dialing 211 will put callers in contact with a center near them.

Liz Delgado with the Children's Defense Fund says free tax preparation centers can help Californians determine if they qualify for the credits.

"Right now there's a real desperate need. Poverty rates are continuing to go up, and a lot of people really need this earned income. So when this economic stimulus package came up, you saw more and more people coming into these VITA sites."

Lori Abbott/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - CA