PITTSBURGH, January 21, 2009 – State Senator Wayne D. Fontana today announced the re-launch of the I-CAN!™ E-File button through his state website.  The program allows low to moderate income tax filers to electronically file their state and federal income taxes and apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for FREE.  This is the second year that he has made such a service available through his website by partnering with the Southwestern PA Legal Services.

“The EITC program is an important credit to our residents,” Fontana said.  “While a substantial number of people in the district do receive the credit, another 25% may be falling through the cracks.  Providing this program and access to the residents of this district through this user-friendly site allows us to reach out to more filers who may be eligible for the credit.”

Fontana also announced that he will be re-introducing legislation with Rep. Jesse White to create the EITC Information Act.  The bill is aimed at promoting awareness of the federal EITC program by having employers post a notice at job sites and providing employees with an annual written notice about the program.  This measure, in other, states has promoted greater awareness of the program and resulted in additional families applying for the EITC.

“The federal government has offered the EITC Program since 1975 and it has grown to be the largest federal anti-poverty program,” White said. “The program enables working families to receive up to $4,824 from the IRS which is a significant amount of money in these economic times.  Every little thing we can do to bring attention to the program and residents’ eligibility for the credit can only help the taxpayer and the community.”

“I will continue to reach out to taxpayers to make sure they apply for the EITC Program if they are eligible,” Fontana said. “Hopefully, the legislation will also allow us to reach even more individuals and families who could be benefiting from this program.”

Individuals applying for the credit must first be a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident, must have a valid social security number, cannot qualify as a dependent for another taxpayer, have investment incomes of less than $2,950, have earned income in 2008, and must also meet income requirements.  If a taxpayer has no children, he or she must be over the age of 25 and earn no more than $12,880 to be eligible ($15,880 if married).  A taxpayer with one child must earn no more than $33,995 (married $36,995) while a taxpayer with two or more children must earn no more than $38,646 (married $41,646).

Fontana said that taxpayers can go directly to the I-CAN!™ E-File website through his website at www.senatorfontana.com.  Users will be provided with a list of what information they should have to file their returns through the website and will also be asked a series of questions regarding their eligibility for the EITC Program.  Taxpayers can also learn more about the EITC eligibility guidelines by calling (888) 434-8248.