Friday, June 22, 2018
Business

Many miss out on earned income tax credit

As startling as it seems, the IRS estimates that each year 1 in 4 eligible Americans misses out on money the government owes.

That's because people fail to file for something called the earned income tax credit, worth up to $5,981 for 2012. It's available to anyone who worked even part of the year and earned below a certain limit: for instance, $50,270 for a married couple with three dependent children.

Developed in the 1970s as an incentive to move adults from welfare to work, the credit has been a powerful force in lifting people out of poverty, financial experts say.

So why would anyone neglect to claim it?

"There are two big reasons," said Mark Batchelor, manager of financial-stability initiatives for the Heart of Florida United Way. "The first is that people who are financially insecure are often too busy taking care of their lives to seek these things out. And second, the recession knocked a lot of people who wouldn't normally qualify into that tax bracket."

Workers who lost their jobs or had their hours cut may be eligible for the first time. After all, Batchelor notes, the credit isn't just for the working poor. A household income of $50,270 is very much in middle-class territory.

It's also important for workers to realize that, to get the credit, they have to file a tax return.

"Even if you're making less than $10,000 and you don't have a filing requirement, the only way you're going to get any credit (or refund) is if you file a tax return," said Carolyn Spohrer, deputy director of Virginia Community Action Partnership, an anti-poverty group. "And to some people that's scary."

For Teresa Martyny, a 34-year-old single mother from Orlando, it wasn't fear but ignorance that stopped her. Only after she adopted her son four years ago did she learn about the credit from a co-worker.

"Before that, I didn't even know that I qualified for it," she said.

Advocates for low-income workers worry that this year the number of workers who overlook the credit will be higher than usual.

"That entire fiscal-cliff debate in Congress led to a lot of confusion," including the delay of beginning of the tax season this year, said Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which helped develop a website devoted to the issue, TaxPrepHelp.org.

Comments
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Published: 06/22/18
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Published: 06/22/18
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Published: 06/22/18
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Published: 06/22/18
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Published: 06/22/18
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18