* Notices which explain the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and lists free tax counseling sites, are being mailed to customers in January 2016.
* Encourage customers who were employed in 2015 to apply for EITC payments when filing federal and state income taxes.
* EITC payments continue to be exempt as an asset (resource) and income for all programs.
Customers who were employed in 2015 may be able to increase their income by applying for EITC payments when filing federal and state income taxes.
The Tax Season Is Here (pdf) and Free Tax help (pdf) will be mailed to cash, medical and SNAP households in January 2016.
The notices remind customers of their possible eligibility for an EITC payment, how to apply for an EITC payment, and where they can receive free tax counseling and tax preparation services.
Customers who were employed in 2015 may receive the federal EITC payment by filing for it with their federal tax return.
A person who did not apply for an EITC payment for any of the last 3 years in which he or she worked may be eligible to receive retroactive EITC payments for any or all of those years by filing an amended return.
The state income tax form asks for the amount of the federal EITC a family is eligible to receive. The taxpayer will receive 10% of that amount as a credit to reduce the amount of state taxes owed or increase the refund amount. For the 2015 tax year, this credit will provide up to $624 in state tax relief for working families who qualify for federal EITC.
Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) Action
The IRS provides EITC brochures and posters to the FCRCs each year in late January or early February. Use current supplies until the new ones arrive. Provide the brochures to customers as appropriate.
In every face-to-face meeting or telephone contact with customers who had any earned income in 2015, ask if they filed for an EITC. If they didn't, encourage them to do so.
Exempt EITC payments for all programs, both as income and as an asset (resource) where applicable.
Free Tax Counseling and Preparation
Free community-based tax counseling and preparation is available to all low-income families and individuals in the Chicago area and in most larger downstate towns. A list of free tax preparation locations is shown on DHS 4039. All local and specialized work and training offices have a list of tax services available in their area. Inform customers of this when appropriate.
[signed copy on file]
James T. Dimas
Secretary - designate, Illinois Department of Human Services
DHS 4406 (CN 15.15)
DHS 4039 (CN 15.16)