Brown urges residents to claim tax credits

March 20, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

In Scioto County alone more than 1,800 families families are eligible for the American Opportunity Tax Credit, but do not claim it—leaving thousands of dollars on the table. So with less than one month until Tax Day, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) held a news conference call to alert Ohioans to free tax preparation services and critical – but often unclaimed – tax credits that could help them save thousands of dollars.

“More than 32,000 Ohioans did not file tax returns for 2009, leaving more than $26 million in unclaimed tax refunds on the table – with a median refund check of $561,” Brown said. “Ohioans have until April 15 to file back taxes to claim these refunds by filing back taxes.”

Brown said April 15 is also the deadline for Ohioans to file their 2012 taxes and claim important credits that help middle class and working families make ends meet, care for their children, and afford the cost of higher education. In announcing how many Ohio families failed to claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) — which allows parents to deduct up to $2,500 from their tax bill or receive a refund of up to $1,000 per student for higher education expenses — Brown said more than 1,800 of those families reside in Scioto County. He said working Ohioans also lost out on $532,644,000 through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

To aid in the effort to get Ohioans to claim the tax credit, Brown is introducing new legislation, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Act of 2013 (VITA Act), which provides grants to volunteer assistance sites that help middle-class and low-income Ohioans file their tax returns. Brown also announced the creation of a new webpage, which provides tax tips and information on tax credits, free filing and preparation services that benefit low- and moderate-income taxpayers in one, easy to navigate place.

“Every year Ohioans work hard and deserve to know how they can save themselves and their families money,” Brown said. “Filing taxes is complicated enough and saving money you’ve earned should be easy. So my new webpage is informative and user friendly, and VITA sites offer tax help for low-to-moderate income families so they can claim important tax credits that become more groceries, gas money, and money pumped into the local economy.”

VITA volunteer tax preparers offer free tax help to low-to-moderate income individuals and help them claim credits aimed to help working families, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at