Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Governor Beshear Urges Kentuckians to Apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit
Updated Website Lists Free Tax Preparation Locations Across Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky.– Governor Steve Beshear today launched his annual campaign to encourage more Kentuckians to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable federal tax credit for low- and middle-income working individuals and families.
“The EITC is one of our best anti-poverty tools for low wage-earning families, and I want to make sure every eligible Kentuckian takes advantage of it and gets the money they deserve,” Gov. Beshear said in announcing the campaign. “In addition, this is money that gets infused right back into Kentucky businesses – just the kind of economic injection our communities need.” Nearly all of the funds from the credit, an estimated 97 percent, are infused into local communities.
Gov. Beshear also announced a list of nearly 200 free tax preparation sites serving more than 80 counties where volunteer tax preparers—who have been trained and are IRS-certified—will assist Kentuckians with their taxes and help them apply for the EITC.
Information about these sites, including addresses and phone numbers, is available on the website Gov. Beshear originated and unveiled in 2008, www.assistance.ky.gov. The majority of these sites will begin offering their services beginning mid-January, and their hours vary by site. Therefore, Gov. Beshear encourages Kentuckians to call the sites before visiting. He also noted that the Kentucky Department of Revenue (DOR) provides free online tax assistance, and their link can also be found on the website.
Beginning January 15, Kentuckians living in Anderson, Boone, Bourbon, Bullitt, Campbell, Carroll, Clark, Fayette, Grant, Henry, Jefferson, Jessamine, Kenton, Madison, Montgomery, Nelson, Oldham, Scott, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble and Woodford counties can dial 2-1-1 to find information on free tax preparation sites near them. For information about tax preparation sites outside the 2-1-1 calling area, taxpayers may call Community Action Kentucky at (800) 456-3452.
Eligibility for the EITC is based on income and household composition, as is the amount of the credit. For example, a family with two parents and two children can earn up to $45,373, and credits can be as high as $5,036.
In tax year 2008, the most recent tax information available, Kentuckians filed more than 400,000 EITC claims for a total of $870 million in benefits statewide. The average credit was a little over $2,100. Unfortunately, an estimated 15 to 20 percent of eligible workers still do not claim their EITC benefits, according to the Internal Revenue Service, mostly due to lack of awareness.
As part of Gov. Beshear’s campaign, he has recorded a Public Service Announcement to promote awareness of the credit, and the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) will distribute EITC and free tax preparation site information in each of its local offices.
In addition to participation by DCBS and DOR, several private groups are assisting in this effort, including AARP, Tax Aide Program, the United Way of Kentucky, the Kentucky Asset Success Initiative (KASI), the Louisville Asset Building Coalition and the Northern Kentucky Asset Building Coalition. Representatives of these organizations joined the Governor for today’s event.
“AARP volunteers are excited and ready to help Kentuckians with their tax returns,” said Delores Wathen, Kentucky AARP Tax Aide Program coordinator. “We are thrilled that Gov. Beshear has organized this campaign to let more Kentuckians know about free tax preparation sites, and encourage more to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit.”
“For some low income households in Kentucky, the Earned Income Tax Credit is a tool that can quite literally lift them out of poverty,” said Cate Mart, Central Kentucky Economic Empowerment Program manager for United Way of the Bluegrass, a member of KASI. “Through the collaborative efforts of groups across the state, hundreds of millions of dollars can be put back in the hands of hard-working Kentuckians to increase their personal financial stability and create a more vibrant and prosperous state. The challenge is to make sure that eligible taxpayers are aware of the credit and its numerous benefits.”