High-Tech Tax Help for the 2009 Filing Season

January 27, 2009

January 27, 2009


Washington, DC - A free website that permits low-income workers to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is ready for the 2009 tax-filing season.

I-CAN! E-File is available to taxpayers at www.icanefile.org and, for the first time, as part of the Free File Alliance, a group of organizations that provide free tax-filing services and are listed on the Internal Revenue Service website, www.irs.gov.

The I-CAN! E-File was developed through funding provided by a Technology Initiative Grant from the Legal Services Corporation. The electronic filing system takes its name from the Interactive Community Assistance Network, a ground-breaking, touch-screen, self-help kiosk developed by the Legal Aid Society of Orange County to provide low-income individuals and families with access to legal forms and information. The Orange County legal aid program launched the E-File website in 2003 to help low-income workers create and electronically file their taxes and apply for the EITC.

For the 2008 tax-filing season, EITC provided $47 billion in refunds and offsets to tax liabilities. Of that total, I-CAN! E-File brought back more than $33 million in refunds and credits to low-income workers in 45 states, demonstrating how an innovative technology project can make an impact in serving low-income families.

The website permits taxpayers at a fifth-grade literacy level to log on, answer basic questions about their finances, determine if they qualify for the ETIC and then file their federal tax returns online or print out their tax forms and mail them to the IRS.

In addition, I-CAN! E-File can be used to file state tax returns in the following states: Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, New York and Pennsylvania.

The EITC is a refundable federal income tax credit for low- to moderate-income working individuals and families approved by Congress in 1975 as a way to help offset the burden of Social Security taxes and to provide an incentive to work. When the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit. To qualify, taxpayers must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if they did not earn enough money to be obligated to file a return.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.