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Frequently Asked Questions

About the Earned Income Tax Credit

What is the Earned Income Tax Credit?

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax credit for certain people who work and have low wages. A tax credit usually means more money in your pocket. It reduces the amount of tax you owe, and may also give you a refund. To be eligible to receive the EITC, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return.

You do not need to have children to receive the EITC. To qualify for the EITC, you must:

How do I find out if I qualify for the EITC?

The EITC requirements change each year, to keep up with inflation. To determine if you are eligible to receive the EITC, click here.

It looks like I qualify for the EITC. What can I do to receive the EITC?

You will need to file your taxes and indicate on your tax return that you qualify. You have several options to file your taxes that don’t require you to pay anyone.

I tried to claim the EITC last year, but was denied. What gives?

If you were denied a claim for the EITC for any year after 1996 and the IRS determined that your error was due to “reckless” or “intentional disregard” of the EITC rules, then you will not be able to claim the EITC for the next two years. If your error was due to fraud, then you will not be able to claim the EITC for the next 10 years.

As an employer, how can I help support my employees’ access to the EITC?

The most important thing that you, as an employer, can do is to make sure employees know about the EITC. You can pursue a variety of strategies, such as:

Employers can also encourage their workers to use direct deposit of paychecks so that they become “banked” and will have an account for speedier direct deposit of tax refunds.


About Free Tax Prep

What is a VITA?

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free tax prep services to qualified households. Free tax prep sites are located across metro Atlanta, in locations such as churches, libraries, social service organizations, and some major employers. The Prosperity Campaign partners with the local groups and the IRS to operate these sites throughout the tax season.

How do I know if I qualify to have my taxes prepared for free at a VITA site?

Eligibility for the free tax services at a VITA site is based on household income. For Tax Season 2012, if your household income was less than $49,000, then you are eligible to have your taxes prepared at a VITA site.

Where can I get my taxes done for free?

VITA sites are located throughout metro Atlanta, to assist you. Click here to find a VITA Tax Prep site near you.

What materials do I need to bring when I get my taxes done?

When you visit a VITA site to have your taxes prepared, be sure to bring the following:

  • Social Security card for each family member (or Income Tax Identification Number (ITIN) for the working adults)
  • Correct birthdates for each family member
  • Photo ID (such as driver’s license)
  • Prior year tax return
  • W-2 forms for all jobs held in the previous year
  • All 1099 forms that indicate income
  • If you had child care expenses, Child Care provider information such as name, address and tax ID number
  • If you want direct deposit, bank routing and checking/savings account number
  • If you are filing jointly with your spouse, both filers must be present to sign the return

What if I have my own business?

The VITA program can help you prepare your tax return if you are a sole proprietorship and you file a Schedule C-EZ. This means you must meet the following criteria for the tax year:

  • Had business expenses of $5,000 or less.
  • Use the cash method of accounting.
  • Did not have an inventory at any time during the year.
  • Did not have a net loss from your business.
  • Had only one business as a sole proprietor.
  • Had no employees during the year.
  • Are not required to file IRS Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization, for this business.
  • Do not deduct expenses for business use of your home.
  • Do not have prior year unallowed passive activity losses from this business.

If your business does not meet each of these criteria, then we are not able to prepare your return.

What if I make more that the VITA income limit? Is there somewhere else I can go to have my taxes prepared for free?

If your household income exceeds the income limits, you may still be eligible for free tax help, but you may be required to prepare your own return. There are several organizations that offer simple, easy-to-use tax filing software programs to guide you through the process. These programs allow you to file your tax returns free of charge, if your household income is below a certain income limit. Some of these include:

  • AARP Tax Aide has locations throughout Georgia that help households prepare tax returns for free.
  • IRS Free-File provides a list of several IRS-approved programs that allows you to prepare your own tax return. It allows you to choose the program that is right for you, or the IRS will help you choose a program.
  • Georgia Department of Revenue allows you to file your state of Georgia tax return.

How quickly will I receive my refund?

If you direct deposit your refund, you should receive your federal refund in 10-14 days. Your state return should arrive in about three weeks.

If you do not direct deposit, your federal and state refunds could take up to 4-6 weeks to be mailed to you.

Where is my refund?

If you have not received your Federal refund, and want to check on its status, Click Here to be re-routed to the IRS website. You will need to use your Social Security Number, filing status, and exact amount of your expected refund.

If you have not received your State of Georgia refund, and want to check on its status, Click Here to be re-routed to the Georgia Department of Revenue website. You will need to use your Social Security Number and exact amount of your expected refund.


About Economic Supports/Public Benefits

I need help making ends meet for my family. What can I do?

Click here to be directed to a list of services that may be able to help you.

What is SNAP (formerly known as food stamps)?

Many families struggle to put nutritious food on the table for their families. The SNAP program (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) provides these families with a way to do this. SNAP provides crucial support to lower-income households and to those making the transition from welfare to work.

SNAP participants are given an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that you use like a credit or debit card at your local grocery store to buy food. The amount of money you will receive each month depends on your household size and income.


How much can I receive in food stamps?

The average monthly benefit is about $125 per person and about $302 per household.

What other public benefits are out there?

There are a wide range of benefits available to eligible households in Atlanta.

How do I apply for any of these benefits?

Click here to learn how you can determine your eligibility, and how to apply for public benefits.

I am interested in applying for LIHEAP, the home energy assistance program. How do I contact my local office?

1.  Central Savannah River Area Economic Opportunity Authority, Inc:  Burke, Columbia, Emanuel, Glascock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Lincoln, McDuffie, Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, Warren, and Wilkes Counties; 706-722-2207


2.  Clayton County Community Services Authority, Inc.:  Clayton, Fayette, and Henry Counties; 404-363-0575

3.  Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority, Inc.:  Bryan, Camden, Glynn, Liberty, and McIntosh Counties; 912-264-3281

4.  Coastal Plain Area Economic Opportunity Authority, Inc.:  Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift, and Turner Counties; 229-244-7860

5.  Community Action for Improvement, Inc.:  Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Meriwether, and Troup Counties; 706-884-2651

6.  Concerted Services, Inc. Reidsville Office:  Appling, Bulloch, Candler, Effingham, Evans, Jeff Davis, Long, Tattnall, Toombs, and Wayne Counties; 912-557-6687

7.  Concerted Services, Inc Waycross Office:  Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Pierce, and Ware Counties; 912-285-6083

8.  Economic Opportunity for Savannah-Chatham County Area, Inc.:  Chatham County; 912-238-2960

9.  Enrichment Services Program, Inc.:  Chattahoochee, Clay, Harris, Muscogee, Quitman, Randolph, Stewart, and Talbot Counties; 706-649-1600

10.  Fulton-Atlanta Community Action Agency, Inc.:  Fulton; 404-320-0166

11.  Heart of Georgia Community Action Council, Inc.:  Bleckley, Dodge, Laurens, Montgomery, Pulaski, Telfair, Treutlen, Wheeler, and Wilcox Counties; 478-374-4301

12.  Macon-Bibb County Economic Opportunity Council, Inc.:  Bibb County; 478-738-3240

13.  Middle Georgia Community Action Agency, Inc.:  Butts, Crawford, Houston, Jones, Lamar, Monroe, Peach, Pike, Twiggs, Upson, and Spalding Counties; 478-922-4464

14.  Ninth District Opportunity, Inc.:  Banks, Barrow, Dawson, Elbert, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Oglethorpe, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White Counties; 770-532-3191

15.  North Georgia Community Action, Inc.:  Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Dade, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens, Walker, and Whitfield Counties; 706-692-5644

16.  Partnership for Community Action, Inc.:  Clarke, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Newton, Oconee, Rockdale, and Walton Counties; 404-929-2500

17.  Overview, Inc.:  Baldwin, Greene, Hancock, Jasper, Johnson, Morgan, Putnam, Washington, and Wilkinson Counties; 478-453-4111

18.  Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, Inc.:  Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, and Worth Counties; 229-985-3610

19.  Tallatoona Community Action Partnership, Inc.:  Bartow, Cobb, Douglas, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Paulding, and Polk Counties; 770-382-5388

20.  West Central Georgia Community Action Council, Inc.:  Crisp, Dooley, Macon, Marion, Schley, Sumter, Taylor, and Webster Counties; 478-472-3607


About Volunteering

What volunteer opportunities are available with the Atlanta Prosperity Campaign?

Click here for volunteer opportunities.

How can I volunteer?

Click here for how to volunteer.