Many Montgomery Co. tax filers can get free help with tax breaks

MONTGOMERY - People who work but don't earn a lot may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), as well as free help preparing their tax return. The EITC is the federal government's largest program benefiting working families.

The Internal Revenue Service anticipates that more tax filers than ever may be eligible for EITC due to the large number of people who experienced financial distress last year.

January 30 marks EITC Awareness Day, a nationwide effort to increase public awareness about EITC and free tax preparation sites.

For those who qualify for EITC, the new maximum credit is $4,824 for a family with two or more children; $2,917 for a family with one child and $438 if there are no children.

To qualify, the new income limits are:

-$39,646 ($41,646 if married filing jointly) for families with two or more children
-$34,995 ($36,995 if married filing jointly) for families with one child
-$13,880 ($15,880 if married filing jointly) if there are no children

Investment income must be $2,950 or less. Children must meet certain age, relationship and residency requirements. Filers with no children must be at least 25 years old but under age 65.

Free tax help is available at the following location for those whose 2008 income was under $42,000 or who file a fairly simple tax return:

Jubilee Community Center
436 South Goldthwaite Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
Call 1-888-99-TAX-AL for an appointment

For other free tax help site locations, dial 2-1-1 for the United Way or call the IRS toll-free at 1-800-906-9887.

People should come to the site prepared with the following items:

-Proof of identification
-Social Security Cards (or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, ITIN) for you, your spouse and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration

-Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
-Current year's tax package if you received one
-Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
-Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
-A copy of last year's Federal and State returns if available
-Bank Routing Numbers and Account Numbers for Direct Deposit
-Total paid for day care provider and the day care provider's tax identifying number (the provider's Social Security Number or the provider's business Employer Identification Number)

-Information for other income
-Information for deductions/credits
-To file taxes electronically on a married filing joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.