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You may not have to pay taxes

“May” being the operative word — but it got your attention. 

The IRS is launching a big push to make sure people know about the earned income tax credit. It's one of the sweetest tax deals around, because it's refundable, meaning the IRS could be in the position of sending you money.

Some 426,000 Washington state taxpayers used the tax credit last year, but the IRS estimates one in five of taxpayers eligible don't use the credit because they don't know about it.

The income limit to qualify starts at $13,660 for a single person with no kids, and tops out at $49,078 for a married couple who files jointly and has three or more kids.

Couple of things to keep in mind: the tax credit doesn't affect welfare benefits. And in most cases, any payment you get won't count against you in determining eligibility for Medicaid, SSI, food stamps, low-income housing or TANF payments.

How do you get it? You have to file a tax return. The IRS has a worksheet to see whether you qualify and for how much; you can find Publication 596 on the IRS website here.There are also thousands of places you can get free tax preparation through the VITA program. Call 1-800-906-9887 for a list.


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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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John Stucke John Stucke is a deputy city editor who helps build local news coverage and writes about health care, bankruptcy and rural affairs.

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Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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