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The Tax Man Has Up To $5000 For Hard-Working Kentuckians

January 30, 2009

Frankfort, KY – The "tax man" has up to almost $5,000 for hard-working Kentucky families this year. That's the maximum amount for an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refund, and "EITC Awareness Day" - January 30 - is designed to encourage families to investigate their eligibility.

Community Action Kentucky Program Services Director, Candice Mattison, says those who have been unemployed, or have seen marital or parental status changes, could be eligible - and certainly, the extra money would be welcome.

"These dollars will help them, perhaps, pay their mortgage payment, or some other high-end expense, or just repair their vehicles."

As a result of the recession, Mattison says, there may be thousands of families eligible for EITC refunds for the first time this tax season. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that up to 25 percent of Kentucky families eligible for the credit fail to claim it.

Eligible families are also at risk of losing a portion of their refund to the lure of so-called "refund anticipation" loans, according to Mattison. The appeal of such loans is that they get the money to people instantly, but at a price.

"We want to help them avoid those traps, of going to those lenders to borrow the money that is theirs anyway."

Companies that offer refund anticipation loans see them as a convenient and cost-effective service to get money right away. However, Mattison says free volunteer tax preparation sites are available around the state; they offer electronic filing of tax forms and, for most families, refunds in about a week. These sites can be located by calling 1-800-456-3452.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - KY