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Connecticut Promotes the Earned Income Tax Credit

November 22, 2011

HARTFORD, Conn. - An estimated 180,000 Connecticut households will be eligible for the state's new earned-income tax credit, but they have to know about it to apply. So today, Gov. Dannel Malloy, legislators and nonprofit advocates for low-income families will kick off a drive to raise awareness.

Sarah Kaufman, director of communications for the Department of Revenue Services, says anyone who's eligible for a federal earned-income tax credit can get 30 percent of that amount from the state's version.

"Workers who earn $48,000 a year or less and are raising children, or single workers who don't have children and earn less than $13,460 would qualify for the credit."

If all eligible workers apply, they could see a total of $108 million returned to their pockets. Kaufman says that money would help not only those workers and their families, but the Connecticut economy as a whole, as most of it would be spent on essentials.

She says the average credit will be about $540, with a maximum of $1,700.

"People use it for fuel; they end up using it for food or to pay off bills. Sometimes it goes for rent or even car repairs, which then help them get to work and get back to a job."

As with other income-tax filings, there is the potential for fraud, Kaufman says, but protections have been put in place.

"If they file a fraudulent return, there are going to be certain roadblocks that are going to be put up, that will automatically generate a letter sending back to them saying we need more information, and in most of those cases, those people aren't going to respond."

The National Center for Children in Poverty found that the federal earned-income tax credit reduces poverty for young children by nearly 25 percent -- more than any government program.

Today's event will be held at 3 p.m. in the state Capitol's Old Judiciary Room.

Melinda Tuhus/Dallas Heltzell, Public News Service - CT