2019 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Information
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit for families and individuals who have income from employment. It increases the amount refunded to a taxpayer or reduces the amount of tax owed. For 2018, 576,000 filers in New Jersey were able to be credited $1.4billion with an average tax refund of $2,360. However, almost 25% of eligible New Jersey taxpayers never file for EITC. You must file a tax return to claim your EITC.
Twenty-nine states, including New Jersey, maintain their own EITC program. New Jersey taxpayers may receive a credit equal to 39% of their federal credit. It is based on their employment earnings, filing status, number of children and adjusted gross income (AGI).
|Number of Qualifying Children||Single/Head of Household or Widow(er), Income Must be Less Than||Married Filing Jointly, Income Must be Less Than||Maximum Federal Credit||Maximum NJ State Credit|
|Three or More Children||$50,162||$55,952||$6,557||$2,557|
The EITC Assistant is an online tool to estimate if an individual or family may qualify by answering a number of questions. The IRS also publishes a one page fact sheet, IRS Notice 797 and a more detailed booklet, IRS Publication 596.
Free assistance to prepare and file your federal income tax return is available from a number of organizations and programs. The United Way and H&R Block partner to offer MyFreeTaxes. All income levels are eligible to file both federal and state returns for free using MyFreeTaxes.com. Also available is Free File another free, easy to use online software program. Taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is $69,000 and below are eligible. The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program offers free tax preparation to low and moderate-income taxpayers, especially age 50 and older.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older. Most VITA and TCE sites are open February to April.
The IRS provides a Find a Location for Free Tax Help page. The NJ 2-1-1 Partnership maintains a NJ Free Tax Assistance Locations page. South Jersey residents in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May and Cumberland Counties, as well as residents in Philadelphia and Montgomery County, can get tax preparation help from the non-profit Campaign for Working Families.
Non-profits, advocacy groups and government agencies can participate in outreach efforts by promoting the NJ EITC Page and their NJ EITC Informational Flyer. Groups interested in conducting an outreach campaign or promoting EITC on social media should subscribe to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' Get It Back Campaign.
Employers are encouraged to distribute copies of "Have You Told Your Employees About the Earned Income Credit (EIC)?", available as Notice 1015 by the IRS. The New Jersey Division of Taxation publishes a Statement to Employees.
Smartphone users can download IRS2Go, the official IRS mobile app. You can use it to check your tax refund status, find free tax prepartion services, or even send a payment to Uncle Sam.
DCAid - New Screening Tool For Housing and Energy Programs
The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs' (DCA) Division of Housing and Community Resources launched "DCAid", an eligibility screen tool to help consumers find housing-related assistance programs for which they may qualify. In a press release, Lt. Governor and DCA Commissioner Sheila Oliver stated, "the DCAid tool is a quick and simple process that allows people to find out if they are eligible for housing assistance programs, utility assistance, homelessness prevention services, and other programs that will help to improve their quality of life."
The press release further stated: "The eligibility screening process is a series of questions that takes approximately 1-2 minutes to complete. Users can find out if they are eligible for DCA services that provide assistance with rent, including the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program and the State Rental Assistance Program, heating costs, utility bills, removal of lead hazards in the home, Veterans Affair Supportive Housing (VASH), weatherization assistance, and homelessness prevention programs. The results, based on general income and household information entered, will provide the user with a brief description of eligible programs with contact information for the agency where the user can apply."
To find out if you are eligible for any of these programs visit the eligibility screening tool, DCAid.
NJSave - Online Application For Seniors
The New Jersey Division of Aging Services has launched a new online application, NJSave, for the benefit of older New Jerseyans. It is targeted to individuals with lower income and disabilities. The application makes it easier to evaluate program eligibility in such areas as: prescription drugs (PAAD program), Medicare premiums, utilities (Lifeline Utility Assistance) and other living expenses.
Additional information is available on the Division's NJSave page.
Democratic Presidential Debates Update #4
The next three Democratic debates are scheduled for February so as to coincide with upcoming Presidential primaries. These debates will be held February 7 in Manchester, New Hampshire, February 19 in Las Vegas, Nevada and February 25 in Charleston, South Carolina. As of January 29, according to a New York Times article, seven candidates, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang, have met the eligibility requirements set by the Democratic National Committee.
Upcoming Democratic Party primaries and caucuses are: Iowa caucuses - Monday, February 3; New Hampshire primary - Tuesday, February 11; Saturday, February 22 - Nevada caucuses; and Saturday, February 29 - South Carolina primary. Then comes "Super Tuesday" on March 3 with primaries in Texas, California and fourteen other states.
The active Democratic contenders are, in alphabetical order:
Michael Bennet, Senator from Colorado
Joe Biden, former Vice President of the United States
Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City
Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
Tulsi Gabbard, Congresswoman from Hawaii
Amy Klobuchar, Senator from Minnesota
Deval Patrick, former Governor of Massachusetts
Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont
Tom Steyer, former hedge fund executive
Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts
Andrew Yang, tech company executive
A total of sixteen candidates have dropped out, withdrawn or suspended their campaigns to date. They are, in chronological order:
John Delaney, former Congressman from Maryland, January 31, 2020
Cory Booker, Senator from New Jersey, January 13, 2020
Marianne Williamson, author, January 10, 2020
Julián Castro, former U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, January 2, 2020
Kamala Harris, Senator from California, December 3, 2019
Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana, December 2, 2019
Joe Sestak, former Congressman from Pennsylvania, December 1, 2019
Wayne Messam, Mayor of Miramar, Florida, November 20, 2019
Beto O'Rourke, former Congressman from Texas, November 1, 2019
Tim Ryan, Congressman from Ohio; October 24, 2019
Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City; September 20, 2019
Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator from New York; August 28, 2019
Seth Moulton, Congressman from Massachusetts; August 23, 2019
Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State; August 21, 2019
John Hickenlooper, former Governor of Colorado; August 15, 2019
Eric Swalwell, Congressman from California; July 8, 2019
The requirements to participate in the upcoming New Hampshire debate were released in mid-January by the Democratic National Committee.
The number of Democratic presidential candidates continues to shrink with the withdrawl of three in December and four in January. There were two dozen plus contenders in July, 2019. The current cast is down to eleven.
Be a voter.
Updated: January 31, 2020