by Amber Wallin
January 25, 2013

If you worked but earned less than $50,000 last year, you may qualify for a refundable tax credit called the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)–as much as $5,891.

Today is National EITC Day, a nationwide effort to increase public awareness about the benefits of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC is a refundable federal tax credit available to low-income working individuals and families. It helps people who work hard meet basic needs, stay off welfare, and give their children a better chance to thrive. New Mexico’s Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) is based on the EITC and provides additional benefits for New Mexico’s working families and communities.

The EITC has been making the lives of workers a little easier for more than 37 years. Yet the IRS estimates that nationwide one in five eligible workers still miss out on the EITC, either because they don’t claim it when filing, or don’t file a tax return. This is money that can make a difference. Last year alone, New Mexico’s working families received nearly $490 million from the federal EITC and an estimated $49 million from New Mexico’s WFTC. The average combined EITC and WFTC amount in New Mexico last year was $2,500 per tax return.

The amount of the EITC varies by income, family size, and filing status. The EITC is for workers whose income does not exceed the following limits:

  • $45,060 ($50,270 married filing jointly ) with three or more qualifying children
  • $41,952 ($47,162 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
  • $36,920 ($42,130 married filing jointly)  with one qualifying child
  • $13,980 ($19,190 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children

The online EITC Assistant can help determine your eligibility and estimate the amount of your credit. Free help preparing your return and claiming the EITC is available at volunteer income tax assistance sites such as CNM’s Tax Help New Mexico locations across the state. To find a location near you, visit CNM’s Tax Help website or call 505-224-4829. You may also call the IRS at 1-800-906-9887 for assistance.

People who work full-time should not have to live in poverty. Refundable tax credits like the federal EITC and New Mexico’s WFTC are boosts to working people and their families, and they allow more funds to flow into New Mexico communities. The credits can and do make working families’ lives a little easier. See if you qualify today.

Amber Wallin is a Policy Analyst for NM Voices for Children.
Our federal work is funded by grants from First Focus and Voices for America’s Children.