Danedri Thompson
More than 1,824 Gardner, Edgerton and Spring Hill families can look forward to earned-income tax credits totaling more than $3.7 million as they file their taxes this year.
The EITC was created in 1975 in part to offset the burden of Social Security taxes and to serve as a work incentive.  More than 214,000 Kansas individuals and families claimed and received more than $451 million last year. Last year in Johnson County 22,460 individuals and families received EITC worth almost $42 million, an average of $1,869.
The prior year in Johnson County 19,038 individuals and families received EITC worth more than $33 million, an average of $1,748.
And local families saw their share of it.
In Edgerton, 160 individuals or family claimed $340,000 in earned income tax credits worth an average of $2,126.
In Spring Hill, 398 individuals or families received $760,000 in credits worth an average of $1,912; and in Gardner, 1,266 individuals or families claimed $2.6 million in credits worth an average of $2,126.
According to Michael Devine, spokesperson for the IRS, four out of five eligible taxpayers claim the credit.
“There are still many who don’t because they don’t know about it or they don’t know how to claim it,” Devine said.
Those eligible to claim EITC but don’t, include non-English speakers, individuals who are self-employed or have service jobs in private households, childless taxpayers, rural residents, and recipients of other types of public assistance such as food stamps.  New parents, grandparents raising grandchildren and foster parents may not realize they qualify.  Some families, such as those in the military and those raising children with disabilities, may not realize there are special rules that may help them qualify.
To make it easier to determine eligibility for this credit, the IRS has a self-help tool, the EITC Assistant at the irs.gov web site.  The step-by-step online program helps answer questions about eligibility, filing status, qualifying children and credit amount. The EITC Assistant also is available in Spanish.