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Many Utah Residents Fail to Claim Lucrative Tax Credit

The Community Action Partnership of Utah says families often miss out on thousands of dollars in tax refunds by not filing for the Earned Income Tax Credit. (KConnors/morguefile)
The Community Action Partnership of Utah says families often miss out on thousands of dollars in tax refunds by not filing for the Earned Income Tax Credit. (KConnors/morguefile)
February 2, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY - Many Utah residents are potentially leaving thousands of dollars on the table each year when they prepare and file their federal tax returns, according to a coalition of community agencies.

Barbara Muñoz, a policy analyst with the Community Action Partnership of Utah, says many low- and middle-income families fail to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit.

"About one in five Utahans that are eligible for this credit, that averages over $2,300 per family, are not claiming that credit," she says.

Muñoz says working families with children who make up to $53,000 a year are generally eligible for the credit, but many miss out because they don't file their taxes or think it is only for people with very low incomes.

She adds the Community Action Partnership also has a program that provides qualified taxpayers free assistance from highly qualified volunteers to prepare and file their tax returns at dozens of locations around the state.

Free tax help can be located online at UtahTaxHelp.org, or by calling 2-1-1. She says families often pay too much by going to a tax-preparation firm.

"A lot of folks will go and have paid tax preparation done, and they'll get a refund immediately," says Muñoz. "But that refund comes at a pretty high cost. There is usually a $75 fee to get a rapid-refund loan and then, there's usually high interest attached to that as well."

The Community Action Partnership is a coalition of nine social service agencies that provide assistance to low-income families and individuals across the state.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - UT