Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) today issued a reminder that people who work and earn less than $50,270 may be eligible to boost their income with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and receive free tax preparation assistance through one of several Mercer County VITA sites. The reminder was issued as part of National EITC Day, January 25, and nationwide outreach efforts to raise public awareness about EITC and promote free VITA tax sites. “The Internal Revenue Service reports that four out of five eligible workers and families are eligible for the credit, but one in five fails to claim it causing workers to miss out on receiving a larger refund,” said Senator Turner. “Washington already receives too much of our hard-earned money. We want New Jersey families to receive back every penny that they have coming to them.” Individuals without children can receive up to $475 in EITC and individuals with three or more qualifying children can receive up to $5,891. EITC varies by income, family size, and filing status. The average EITC amount last year was $2,169. Last year, 563,000 New Jersey individuals and families claimed the EITC, which returned $1.22 billion back to our state’s low-income workers to pump back into our economy. “Workers who qualify must claim the credit to receive it,” said Senator Turner. “The EITC program makes an exception for some disability income. If you’re unsure if you qualify, find out if you are eligible. It costs nothing to inquire, but it could potentially cost you thousands if you ignore the credit.” Senator Turner, a strong proponent of EITC at the state level, indicated that workers receiving the EITC on the federal level are also eligible to receive 20 percent of the federal amount when they file their New Jersey tax return. Senator Turner has been fighting to restore the credit to 25 percent since it was cut in 2010. Mercer County has several free VITA tax sites that will be open to provide free tax preparation assistance to individuals and families earning $50,000 or less beginning February 4: Boys & Girls Club, 212 Centre Street, Trenton – opens February 4 (Walk-In Monday 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.) Catholic Charities, 132 N. Warren Street, Trenton – opens February 6 (Walk-In Tuesday 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesday 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. and February 9, March 16, and March 13 from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.) Crisis Ministry, 121 E. Hanover Street, Trenton – opens February 8 (Walk-In Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) Hamilton Public Library, 1 Justice Samuel A. Alito Way, Hamilton – opens February 6 (Walk-In Wednesday & Thursday 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) United Empowerment Center, 3131 Princeton Pike, Bldg. 4, Suite 113, Lawrenceville – opens February 5 (Walk-In Tuesday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Thursday 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.) United Empowerment Center, 3150 Brunswick Pike, Crossroad Corporate Center, 2nd Floor, Suite 230, United Way Office, Lawrenceville next to Motor Vehicle Inspection Station – opens February 11 (Walk-In Monday 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. and By Appointment call 2-1-1 to make an appointment.) More information is also available at http://www.earnedincometaxcredit.org.