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Good for Families, Good for Texas

This month Texans will begin receiving W-2 forms and start filling out their income tax forms. Tax time can be daunting and the process can be overwhelming, especially for those Texans unfamiliar with the process.

As the state's chief financial officer, I encourage low-income Texans who qualify to take advantage of free income tax assistance, such as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs around the state, and the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit.

In 2004, more than 2 million qualifying Texans received $4.3 billion in Earned Income Tax Credit refunds. That is an average of $2,069 per family, which can be used to pay bills and buy household goods and school clothes for their children. The EITC is one of the quickest ways I know to bring more federal tax dollars home to Texas and to put those dollars in the pockets of hard-working families.

Earned Income Tax Credit refunds vary depending on family income and the number of children in the family. To claim the credit, the Internal Revenue Service requires families to meet specific eligibility requirements and have a valid social security number for each family member.

Texas taxpayers who expect to qualify for the EITC and have at least one qualifying child can sign up for the Advance Earned Income Tax Credit at work to receive part of the credit in each paycheck throughout the year, instead of waiting for a tax refund. For low-income families, that is money they can use immediately to help make ends meet.

For more information on how to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, along with helpful links to Internal Revenue Service tax forms and publications, visit www.window.state.tx.us, or call the IRS toll free at (800) 829-1040.

As Comptroller, but most importantly as a momma and a grandmomma, I know the importance of making every dollar count. Taking advantage of free income tax assistance and qualifying families receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit is good for Texas' low-income families, and it is good for Texas.


[signed]
Carole Keeton Strayhorn
Texas Comptroller