Posted Thursday, March 14th, 2013

The Morris County Department of Human Services and the Board of Chosen Freeholders have joined with the New Jersey Department of Human Services and the United Way of Northern New Jersey in urging eligible county residents to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The EITC is a special federal and state tax benefit for low-income working families and individuals that may increase the tax refund to be received, decrease the amount of taxes owed or provide a refund even if taxes are not owed.

However, the state Human Services Department reports thousands of hard working residents miss out on millions of dollars each year because they do not claim the tax credit on their federal and state tax returns.

According to the department, the federal credit can range between $475 and $5,891 and the state credit can range from $95 to $1,178, depending on the taxpayer’s income and family members.

Information about the Earned Income Tax Credit may also be found online at

In Morris County, the United Way estimates the average EITC yields around $200. However, the United Way also estimates only 13 percent of those eligible actually claim the credit, with nearly 83,000 people in the county missing out on the benefit.

Freeholder Director Thomas Mastrangelo said the county will do whatever it can to help spread the word about the EITC so more eligible families will learn about and take advantage of the program.

Several agencies including AARP and the VITA program of the IRS offer free tax help at more than 20 locations across the county, including the Morris County Library, for taxpayers who qualify, and will be able to let a taxpayer know if he or she is eligible for the credit, said Frank Pinto, director of the county Department of Human Services.

According to Pinto, site locations, most of which offer free electronic filing, may be obtained online at or by dialing the information and referral hot line, 2-1-1.