As the economy struggles to recover, many working families can be assured that valuable federal tax credits are available to help meet the financial challenges caused by unemployment and cutbacks at work. In fact, tax filers in 2011 may be eligible for an Earned Income Tax Credit worth up to $5,666, and may qualify for additional tax credits even if they did not earn enough income in 2010 to owe income tax.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) is now available to assist the low to moderate income population of Schuylkill County with federal and state tax returns. Volunteers will assist with the application for tax credits and will provide e-file returns free of charge.

The available tax credits can be significant; a single parent with one child earning less than $35,535 can possibly have an extra refund of $3,050, while a married couple with two children earning less than $45,373 may get an extra credit of $5,036. Family size and income dictates the size of the credit; a couple earning less than $48,362 and having three or more children may get up to $5,666 in additional tax credits, even married couples with no children may qualify for a tax credit of $457.

In addition to the examples outlined above, households may also be entitled to an extra credit of up to $3,000.

New this year, the Schuylkill Community Action VITA Program is offering a prepaid Western Union Master Card for people that do not have a checking or savings account. This will eliminate any extra cost for participants who would like their refund direct deposited but do not have an active checking or savings account. The card comes with no activation fees and allows for quicker Direct Deposited refunds.

Schuylkill Community Action has partnered with several organizations to provide various VITA locations in Schuylkill County. Sites to assist with income tax preparation will include three locations in Pottsville, two in Schuylkill Haven, one in Shenandoah, one in Mahanoy City and one in Tamaqua. Schedules will vary with location, but assistance will be available six days per week during the tax season.

For more information, contact Stu Anthony, Schuylkill Community Action VITA coordinator, at (570) 622-1995 or email santhony@schuylkillcommunityaction.com [1].