Washington State individuals and families can now apply for a new benefit on their tax returns called the Working Families Tax Credit.

a woman standing next to a sign in a library

Welcoming tax filers

Edith from the Whatcom Asset Building Coalition welcomes attendees to a tax assistance session at the Lynden Library offered in March with Express Credit Union

Whether stopping short of applying because of the overwhelming amount of information to sift through, or finding this credit to be completely new, these individuals and families may face barriers to getting all they can from their tax returns. Opportunity Council, along with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, can help. 

In short, if taxpayers meet certain eligibility requirements, the Working Families Tax Credit gives them up to a $1,200 credit on their tax returns. Here is a brief summary of the requirements. 

  • Recipients must have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), have lived in Washington a minimum of 183 days in 2022 (over half the year), and have filed a 2022 federal tax return.  
  • Recipients must either:   
  • Be at least 25 and under 65 years of age, or  
  • Have had a qualifying child in 2022.   

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is a great way to get fully helped with free filing of tax returns. The Whatcom Asset Building Coalition provides a list of Whatcom County sites that offer free tax preparation. 

Washington residents can also get help getting started with the VITA intake process at the Whatcom Community Resource Center, the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center, and the Bellingham Hearing, Speech and Deaf Center. 

Pop-up VITA events will be happening in Island County. Information on the availability of these opportunities will continue to be updated. 

One of the lesser-known tips of tax filing is also one of the most important to keep in mind: Using services such as TurboTax and H&R Block can be a useful tool, but these cannot subtract Veteran’s Affairs disability benefits from annual income calculations. This could incorrectly disqualify people and families from qualifying for tax credits. These services also charge for including extra components, including tax credits like the Working Families Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, in tax returns. 

The VITA program accounts for benefits that can be subtracted from income calculations, and it has these tax credits built into its tax filing services.