The Internal Revenue Service says thousands of people each year fail to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (E.I.T.C.).  Verlinda Paul oversees the E.I.T.C. program for the I.R.S. She says anyone who makes $48,000 or less should check to see if they qualify for the credit, as it could give them thousands of dollars.

Paul says you can go to www.irs.gov/eitc and click on the “E.I.T.C. assistant” program. She says the program will help you determine if you’re eligible. Paul says you can go on-line and use free software to prepare your taxes, or you can get some help. She says some people prefer to have a face-to-face meeting with someone to help prepare their taxes and she says there are over 12,000 volunteer income tax preparation sites nationwide along with 400 I-R-S sites.

Paul says you can find the sites on the I.R.S. website. No matter how you decided to do it, you must file a return to get the credit.

She says some people who can get the credit don’t make enough money to file return, but by not filing they may be missing out on the money from the credit. Paul says many people already apply.

Last year over 200,000 Iowans claimed the credit. But she says they know there are many more Iowans who aren’t taking advantage of it.

I.R.S. research shows one in five taxpayers who could claim the credit don’t do so because they just aren’t aware of it. Paul says Iowans claimed more than 421-million dollars from the E.I.T.C. last year with an average credit of $1,999.