The Earned Income Tax Credit is available for low to moderate income individuals and families.
Although Congress approved the program in the 70's -- an estimated 20% of funding goes unclaimed.
For many people -- filing taxes can be a hassle. Community Action Partnership of Kern's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, called VITA, aims to make the process a little easier. "It's great, absolutely great. It's very easy. It was costing me $100 before until I found out about this," says Bernice McCoy. She has used VITA for three years.
She is one of many people benefitting from the program. "Any residents that earn less than $50,000 a year, generally are eligible for the VITA income tax preparation service," says Jeremy Tobias, executive director, community action partnership of kern.
The free program offers tax return preparation for indiviuals and families -- along with an eligibility check for the Earned Income Tax Credit. "We know that there are tens of millions of dollars going unclaimed in Kern County that could be in the pockets of families here and recirculating through our economy and that benefits all of us," says Della Hodson, president United Way of Kern County.
Organizers say finding out eligibility is easy. "It's really not that difficult, the volunteers here make it really easy," adds Tobias.
There are four income categories, that you must earn less than a specific amount to qualify, and a maximum credit for each one.
Also, there are several free tax assistance locations are set up in the area.
For more information, call 211.