Grow Your Financial Skills at Home using LifeCents!  

You could be eligible to get more money back from the IRS-as much as $6,242!  According to the IRS website, if you earned less than $47,747 from wages, self-employment or farming last year, you may qualify for a refundable tax credit called the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. But to receive the credit, you must file a federal income tax return.
The credit has been making the lives of workers a little easier for more than 38 years. Yet it remains little known, possibly because people move into and out of eligibility as their financial, marital and parental statuses change. IRS estimates only four of five eligible workers claim and receive their EITC.
EITC Online Assistant
The online EITC Assistant at can help you find out if you are eligible for this credit or you can download the EITC finder app to your phone for free.
Get Free Help to File
If you have household income of less than $54,000, free help preparing your return and claiming EITC is available at volunteer income tax assistance sites. Virginia Beach has a variety of volunteer tax preparation sites including the AARP sites which are also trained to help you gain access to the EITC.  All volunteer tax preparation sites will electronically file your return for free. 
South Hampton Roads EITC Coalition: Manages the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites located throughout South Hampton Roads.  All volunteers are IRS trained and certified.  To see a list of all the free tax preparation locations, visit
AARP Tax Aide: Manages the Tax Credits for the Elderly sites throughout South Hampton Roads.  They can prepare simple tax returns for people of any age and any income level.  All volunteers are IRS trained and certified. 
Tax Preparation at Your Library:
Portsmouth: Churchland Library – 4943 High St. West
Virginia Beach: Meyera E. Orberndorf Central Library 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd.  
Host free tax preparation with AARP which also prepares returns for low to moderate income families.  AARP Tax Aide does not have income limitations on tax preparation.

A list of all available free tax sites can be found at
Refunds Unclaimed
According to the IRS, rural and non-traditional families -- such as grandparents raising grandchildren -- childless workers, and non-English speaking taxpayers are among those who most frequently overlook the credit.  If you were eligible in prior years, you can file an amended return to claim your rightful tax credits and get your refund.
EITC and other Public Benefits
Refunds received from Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC or EIC), Child Tax Credit (CTC) or any other tax credit are not considered income for any federal or federally funded public benefit program. Also, under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, your credit or other tax refund is not counted as a resource for at least 12 months from when your receive it. If you save your refund, federal or federally funded agencies will not use it to determine your eligibility or the amount of your benefit. It is always best to check with your local benefit coordinator to find out if your benefits fall under this provision.

Child Tax Credit
A taxpayer who has a dependent child under age 17 probably qualifies for the child tax credit. This credit, which can be as much as $1,000 per eligible child, is in addition to the regular $3,500 exemption claimed for each dependent.
Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses
An individual who pays for someone to care for a child so he or she can work or look for work probably qualifies for the child and dependent care credit. Normally, the child must be the taxpayer’s dependent and under age 13. Though often referred to as the child care credit, this credit is also available to those who pay someone to care for a spouse or dependent, regardless of age, unable to care for him- or herself.
Education Credits
The Hope credit targets the first two years of post-secondary education, and an eligible student must be enrolled at least half-time.
 A taxpayer can also choose the lifetime learning credit, even if he/she is only taking one course.
Saver’s Credit
The saver’s credit is designed to help low- and moderate-income workers save for retirement.  Eligible savers can receive 50% of their contributions up to $1,000 on their tax return.
If you owed taxes at the end of the year, you may want to consider reducing the number of exemptions on your W-4 form.  This will reduce your paycheck and reserve more money to pay taxes.

If you received a large refund, you may want to consider increasing the number of exemptions to increase your paycheck and have more money available for your monthly budget. 

Save Your Refund
Save just $50 of your federal tax refund and enter the SYR promotion to win a $100 weekly prize or the $25,000 grand prize. Tax season is a great time to jump start your savings and Doorways to Dreams (D2D) can help you do just that.

30-40-30 Plan strategies to pay for past, present and future obligations

52 Week Savings - join the 52 week savings challenge with a simple-to-follow plan

Advance your Financial Plans at Tax time:  strategically apply your refund for maximum impact!

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