AUGUSTA, Maine — Just by filing their taxes, working Mainers with low incomes could receive hundreds or even thousands of dollars through the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits.
This week, Maine Equal Justice and the Maine Center for Economic Policy teamed up to launch an easy-to-use online tool designed to encourage low-income Mainers to file their taxes so they can receive the EITC and other credits designed to help families and individuals make ends meet.
The tool, available here, helps Mainers determine whether they may be eligible for the EITC and provides links to free tax preparation support and information.
Maine households which received the federal EITC got an average federal refund of more than $1,700 last year. But an estimated one-fifth of eligible Americans have missed out in past years because they didn’t file their taxes.
In 2017, more than 103,000 Maine households received $212 million through the federal EITC. Research indicates young kids in low-income families that get a boost from the EITC tend to perform better and go further in school and are likely to see improved employment and earning prospects.
“We know that a few hundred extra dollars can go a long way toward helping families afford to pay their electric bill, cover an emergency car repair, or even put food on the table week to week,” said Robyn Merrill, executive director at Maine Equal Justice. “A little extra income can be really important for kids’ stability and growth.”
“Filing your taxes is the only way to claim benefits such as the EITC or other credits that offset the cost of necessities such as child care and housing,” said Garrett Martin, executive director at MECEP. “Today, some Mainers could be eligible for up to $5,000 in state and federal refunds. Even those families who earned very little money last year should file their taxes to avoid leaving money on the table.”