I recently introduced Senate Bill 1347 (SB 1347), legislation that would require employers to post and provide written notification to employees of their potential eligibility for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a federal tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families. SB 1347 is aimed at raising awareness of this program so those who are eligible for this tax credit claim and receive it. If you make less than $49,000 annually you should inquire as to your eligibility.

It is important to raise awareness about the EITC as this is the time of year when we begin seeing advertisements for refund anticipation loans. These loans often times charge consumers high interest rates and administrative fees. The EITC can put money back in the hands of families, without having to worry about high interest rates and fees, or going into debt while awaiting your tax return as individuals who take out refund anticipation loans often times do.

My hope is SB 1347 will be considered in the very near future. In the meantime, it is important that employers provide information about EITC to their employees now to help make a positive difference in the lives of their hard-working employees and their families. Each year, millions of workers risk not receiving the credits they’ve earned because they don’t know they have to file and claim the credit to receive it.

Many people will qualify for EITC for the first time this year because their income declined, their marital status changed, or they added children to their families. In Allegheny County, the Money in Your Pocket Coalition will be assisting eligible working individuals and families with free tax preparation in the coming months. Through their work, $23.8 million in tax refunds have been claimed for Pittsburghers, including $9.2 million in EITC.

For more information about EITC eligibility, and to learn about where to find free tax help, please visit www.pghfreetaxes.org.

Senator Wayne D. Fontana
42nd Senatorial District