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Tax Check-Up Time: Economic Woes Mean More in WV are Eligible for Refunds

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January 30, 2009

Charleston, WV – West Virginians who may be working hard and not earning a lot of money are being asked to think about their taxes, as part of "Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day," January 30.

Theresa Post, West Virginia's Low-Income Taxpayer Advocate, says with the poor economy, she expects more families than usual to be eligible for the federal refund.

"If their financial, marital or parental status has changed over the last year, in 2008, they need to check again and see if they're eligible."

First-timers for EITC refunds may also include those who lost jobs last year. The refund can be close to $5,000 for some families with children, but many West Virginians eligible for the money miss out every year, according to Post.

"There actually are 20 to 25 percent who might qualify, but they either don't file, or they don't claim the credit."

Post also cautions families to keep all their tax refund money for themselves, by staying away from purveyors of so-called "refund anticipation" loans. The companies charge fees and interest to issue refund money immediately. Instead, she says, take advantage of free tax filing sites throughout the state. Volunteers will help with tax preparation and submit tax returns electronically, and most West Virginians can get their refunds in about a week, at no charge. Dial 2-1-1 for a list of sites.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - WV