Do you know the ‘fifth person?’

If you worked any part of 2011 and your household income was below $49,078, you might qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC and it could be worth up to $5,751.

The IRS estimates that four out of five taxpayers who are eligible for EITC claim it, but in a year when every dollar counts, don’t be the fifth person and leave this money on the table.

EITC is a tax credit that could result in you getting a tax refund even if you paid little or no taxes in to the IRS. But you have to file a tax return to receive it.

In Washington County, more than 10,000 low- to moderate-income workers pocketed about $18.4 million in Earned Income Tax Credits last year, for an average of $1,828.

About a third of the eligibility pool for EITC changes each year, so don’t disregard this valuable credit because you haven’t qualified in the past. People who commonly overlook it include: those who aren’t required to file, grandparents raising grandkids, workers whose hours were reduced or those laid off for part of last year, people who had a baby or adopted a child, workers without children and rural taxpayers.

You can use the EITC assistant at www.IRS.gov to see if you qualify for this credit. Or if you use tax software to prepare your tax return, it should automatically calculate and claim EITC for you if you qualify.

Carrie Resch

Internal Revenue Service

St. Paul

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