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Four Letters That Spell Economic Relief for Coloradans

Photo: Marquantte says the EITC makes a huge difference. Courtesy: Marquantte
Photo: Marquantte says the EITC makes a huge difference. Courtesy: Marquantte
January 30, 2014

AURORA, Colo. - Friday is Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day, and thousands of Coloradans will benefit from the credit that offers an economic boost as they begin the new year. President Obama highlighted the importance of the EITC in his State of the Union address, and consumer advocacy groups in Colorado want to make sure that citizens take advantage of this tax break.

Ali Mickelson, tax policy attorney, Colorado Fiscal Institute, explains its importance.

"It's a really important tool that families have to put money back into their pockets when they need it the most. It's an amazing tax credit. It's the number one most-effective federal poverty reduction program," Mickelson says.

In 2011, a total of 345,000 Colorado taxpayers received $719 million in federal EITC refunds.

Free tax help is available for Coloradans who qualify based on income. Those who discover they should have filed for the refund in past years can file retroactively for the previous three years.

Aurora resident Dawn Marquantte is a single mother of three children and gets $6,000 back through the EITC, on average. She has used it to pay off debt, purchase a much-needed car and spend on extracurricular activities for her children.

"It's a lump sum of money, one time a year, that I know I can depend on," she explains. "Usually that lump sum of money is something that I use to plan out the rest of our year with my kids."

Colorado's EITC is currently suspended because of a provision in state law that only allows for it if the state has surplus revenue. Last year, state lawmakers took actions to make the credit permanent, Mickelson says.

"A lot of states have cut back their EITC, where here we passed a bill last year that will hopefully make it permanent," she points out, "so people are starting to understand how important it is for Coloradans."

Once state revenue reaches a specified level - expected in 2015 - the credit will become permanent and will not be considered income when deciding if someone is eligible for any publicly funded benefits.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO