As many of you know, I-CAN! E-File was created by the Legal Aid Society of Orange County in California to empower low-wage earners to file their taxes and claim Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) online, for free! Taxpayers can also claim the Michigan state EITC, Home Heating, and Homestead Property Tax Credits using I-CAN! E-File. I-CAN! E-file allows individuals to file their Federal and Michigan taxes online, or by mail. The program is written at a 5th grade literacy level and can be accessed in English or in Spanish.
Unfortunately, it is estimated that numerous eligible workers fail to claim the EITC. Please help us spread the word about the EITC and I-CAN! E-File so that all eligible workers can access this credit.
Who qualifies for the EITC?
In order to qualify for the EITC, taxpayers must have earnings in 2010 and annual income below:
- $43,352 for taxpayers with 3 or more qualifying children ($48,362 for married and filing jointly) to receive a credit up to $5,666.
- $40,363 for taxpayers with 2 qualifying children ($45,373 for married and filing jointly) to receive a credit up to $5,036.
- $35,535 for taxpayers with 1 qualifying child ($40,545 for married and filing jointly) to receive a credit up to $3,050.
- $13,460 for taxpayers with no qualifying children ($18,470 for married and filing jointly) to receive a credit up to $457.
A child must meet certain requirements to be a "qualifying child" for the EIC. There are 4 criteria that must be met: relationship, age, residency and joint return.
- Relationship: to be a qualifying child, a child must be the filer’s: son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant or any of them; or the filer's brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them.
- Age: a child must be under age 19 at the end of 2010 and younger than the filer (or spouse, if filing jointly), OR under age 24 at the end of 2010 AND a student, AND younger than the filer (or spouse, if filing jointly); OR permanently and totally disabled at any time during 2010, regardless of age.
Finally, for all taxpayers hoping to qualify for EITC, investment income must be $3,100 or less for the year. Also, the maximum of Advance EITC workers can receive from their employers is $1,830.
New this year!
Something that is new this year is that Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites across the nation will have the opportunity to receive credit for tax returns prepared through I-CAN! E-File. So, taxpayers can either prepare their own taxes at computers provided at VITA sites, or volunteers can prepare the tax returns for individuals and families using ICAN! E-File. This is an exciting expansion of ICAN! E-File, and we hope that many VITA sites in Michigan will take advantage of this opportunity.
The launch date for this year’s I-CAN! E-File program is January 14, 2011.
You can download several different EITC and ICAN! E-File fliers for distribution to your clients here: http://www.michiganeic.org/organizationresources
We are continuing to partner with the Michigan Credit Union League and nearly 100 credit unions across the state will be conducting outreach to their members letting them know about EITC and I-CAN! E-File.
You can also get additional information at http://michiganeic.org
Statewide EITC Coalition – Changes for 2010 and beyond
For the last four years, MPLP has been an active part of the coordination of the statewide EITC Coalition, with funding first from DHS and then through the Oakland-Livingston Human Services Agency (OLHSA). During 2010, the Statewide Coalition coordinated efforts of tax preparation sites across the state; continued to sponsor the statewide website and email list serve dedicated to the coalition’s efforts; conducted outreach to new organizations in an effort to expand the reach of the coalition; and led quarterly meetings of the coalition, including a Policy Summit in June and an afternoon of Michigan-focused sessions at the National Community Tax Coalition convention in August. As the OLHSA grant was slated to expire at the end of September, 2010, the Coalition coordinators also worked hard during 2010 to try to find alternate sources of funding, but were unsuccessful.
As a result, the main focus of the Statewide EITC Coalition coordinators during September 2010 was the transition of coordinating duties to the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM). This transition was guided by a task force comprised of members of the Statewide EITC Coalition, and the three current co-coordinators (Peter Ruark of the Michigan League for Human Services, Susan Cocciarelli of MSU Extension, and Angela Tripp of MPLP). While no longer maintaining a role as a coalition coordinator, MPLP will remain active in promoting ICAN! E-File, and by hosting and updating the EITC Coalition website and list serve until those duties are taken over by CEDAM.