Earned Income Tax Credit and Working Families Tax Credit: What’s the Deal?

What you need to know and where to get hassle-free help

Tax season is overwhelming for everyone, but you don’t have to weather it alone. Free, easy services open to all can help you with your tax preparation and questions. 

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. 

You 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 these opportunities can be found here and will continue to be updated on facebook.com/IslandCountyOpportunityCouncil.

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 you to include these tax credits in your tax returns. 

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

The program is free, does not take long, and is just as reliable as other tax preparation tools. 

Washington State individuals and families who meet certain eligibility requirements may receive up to a $1,200 credit on their tax returns. 

People who qualify include those who are eligible to claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on their 2022 tax return, or who would meet the requirements for EITC but are filing with an ITIN.   

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:  

  1. Be at least 25 and under 65 years of age, or 
  1. Have had a qualifying child in 2022.  

People who work and have a low to moderate income may be eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. If you qualify, you could receive a credit on your tax return, with the amount depending on your filing status and dependents. 

Complete the IRS EITC Assistant to see if you qualify. 

Recipients must have worked during the year filed and earned income under $59,187.  

Recipients must have a Social Security number, which does not include those with an ITIN number. 

The EITC has special qualifying rules for military members, clergy members, and taxpayers or their relatives with disabilities.