SAN BERNARDINO >> If you don’t think you made enough money to file an income tax report, think again.
You just might qualify for a tax credit totaling thousands of dollars.
Every year, Californians leave $2 billion of unclaimed Earned Income Tax Credits on the table, says the organization charged with promoting awareness of the California Earned Income Tax Credit.
In San Bernardino County, its estimated that there are 50,000 residents that are owed $26 million, while in Riverside County there are 40,000 residents owed $20 million, said Blanca Lopez, who is heading up an Inland Empire-focused public information campaign on behalf of the Golden State Opportunity Foundation, focusing on the two-county area.
The Golden State Opportunity Foundation is the one of the agencies campaigning, on behalf of CalEITC4Me, to heighten awareness and boost utilization of tax credits statewide, she said.
New America Media and Golden State Opportunity Foundation held a briefing for ethnic media and advocates in San Bernardino’s Norman F. Feldheym Central Library earlier this week.
“I found out about the California earned income credit from an email sent to students at San Bernardino Valley College,” said Justin Redmond, 23, of Rialto.
The result was a $661 tax refund, said Redmond, who is taking science and math classes at both Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga and San Bernardino Valley College.
“I have a lot of friends, especially at Chaffey, and nobody knows about this. Once I tell them, they are pretty enthusiastic,” he said.
With the money, Redmond said he plans to bring his 1991 Toyota Solara up to driving condition.
“Right now, I’m either on foot or the bus,” he said. In addition to taking organic chemistry, physics and calculus, the junior college biology major works 20 to 30 hours per week at Dave & Buster’s in Ontario.
The campaign appears to be working.
That state Franchise Tax Board reports that as of February 25, California had issued nearly $133 million of CalEITC claims, representing a 50-percent increase over the same time last year.
In San Bernardino County, the dollar amount for state income tax credits issued so far in tax year 2016 increased to $11.5 million, up from $7.3 million over the comparable period last tax year.
Similarly, in Riverside County, tax credits issued increased to nearly $9.3 million from $6.1 million at the same point, Feb. 27, in the 2015 tax year, according to a state Franchise Tax Board analysis.