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Pay Lower Taxes (Earned Income)

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Before they arrived at Sacramento County's Department of Human Assistance, the Cantinia family didn't know anything about the Earned Income Tax Credit. They're glad they took the time to find out. They'll soon be getting a check for about $3,900.

For the second year in a row, the agency is helping low income wage earners prepare their taxes. Workers are spreading the word about the Earned Income Tax Credit. Jose Antonio Catinia makes $10,000 a year and normally wouldn't have filed a tax return, but learning about the credit encouraged him to have his taxes done.

Helping to spread the word about the credit was Representative Robert Matsui. "If you make between nine and 12,000 dollars a year, which is about the minimum that many people earn, and you have a family of four, you can get some $3700 income tax credit," said Matsui.

Matsui has recorded a public service announcement to get out the word. Despite publicity efforts, Latinos especially are not learning about the earned income credit. In fact, officials say that in the Latino community, fewer than one in three low income parents know about the credit, and fewer than one in five have ever actually received it. "We're talking about a population of farmworkers here that 99.9% of them do not speak English," said Marco Lizarrage of La Coopertiva.

Officials emphasize that wage earners who would not ordinarily have to file a tax return are eligible for the credit, but must file the return to get the refund. The money comes from social security payroll taxes.

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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