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Constable Carlos Lopez and his deputies assist the citizens and courts of Travis County

Carlos B. Lopez, Constable

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Bruce Elfant

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Constable's Notebook - April 2006

Six Community Tax Centers located throughout Travis County are available to help thousands of low and moderate income people prepare and file thousands of income tax returns free of charge.

Community Tax Centers expect to file free tax returns this year for about 14,000 families who make $40,000 or less and individuals who make $20,000 or less which doubles the number of people served last season. This will also double the amount of refunds and credits that tax center clients are expected to receive this year – about $18 million that will return to the local economy and the wallets of families who need it most. In addition to receiving the tax refunds or credits to which they are entitled, qualifying families save hundreds of dollars they might have paid a commercial tax preparer.

IRS certified volunteers are now preparing taxes at six locations in Austin with day, evening and weekend hours. One tax center is open seven days a week and Spanish speaking volunteers are available. Taxpayers can go to www.foundcom.org. or call United Way’s 2-1-1 line for more information about locations, opening hours, and what documents they will need to bring.

Many families don’t know they are eligible for tax benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC). Single or married people who worked full-time or part-time at some point in 2005 can qualify for the EIC depending on their income.

Workers with one child and incomes of less than $31,030 ($33,030 for married workers) are eligible for an EIC of up to $2,662.

Workers with more than one child and incomes of less than $35,263) ($37,263 for married workers) can get an EIC of up to $4,400.

Workers without children, who are between 25 and 64 years of age and have incomes below $11,750 ($13,750 for married workers) can receive up to $399.

The IRS estimates that thousands of Austin families failed to claim more than $31 million in Earned Income Tax credits last year. That is a lot of money that could have been supporting families and local businesses. It is in all of our interests that this money be claimed this year. If you qualify or know someone who does, please share this information with them and encourage them to contact the Community Tax Centers by calling United Way’s 2-1-1. When using a cell phone, you must call 973-9203.

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