Welcome back to Public Benefits are Key!
In this special edition of our Public Benefits are Key! Series, we were joined by:
Marcy Bowers of Statewide Poverty Action Network, a fierce advocate and negotiator that shaped the Working Families Tax Credit
Hannah Rosenberger of Solid Ground, a skilled public benefits attorney and frequent collaborator on Public Benefits are Key! Trainings
The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) is available that families and individuals in Washington that has taken years to strategize and implement. Champions such as Marcy Bowers, are thrilled to launch the WFTC as it provides a cash resource available to some undocumented Americans, people of low and moderate incomes, does not impact public benefits like TANF and Social Security benefits, and offers higher awards to those with greater need, rather than higher awards to those who earn more.
Keep reading to learn about the Working Families Tax Credit Coalition and campaign that made this tax credit possible, tax credit eligibility, and access to apply.
What is the Working Families Tax Credit?
The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) is a resource that…
- Is accessible to low-income and moderate-income Washingtonians
- Can provide applicants with $300-$1,200 annually (with some being awarded $50 if income is above eligible levels)
- Is easy to apply for, as long as you file your taxes
- Is not restricted to families – individuals qualify too!
- You can apply for TODAY!
And it is expected to have huge impacts!
- About 425,000 Washingtonians are expected to be eligible
- 1 in 4 kids will benefit – kids who receive the tax credit have higher math and reading scores and are more likely to graduate
- Communities of color, immigrant communities, and low-income communities, are expected to gain the most
- Both rural and urban communities will benefit – Adams, Yakima, and Okanogan county have the highest proportion of eligible applicants. Meanwhile, King County has 95,000 eligible applicants.
Who is Eligible for the WFTC?
To obtain this tax credit, you have to fit four criteria:
- You must have lived in WA for more than 183 days
- You must have filed a federal tax return – this is possible with a Social Security Number (SSN) OR an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
- You are 25-65 if single OR have a qualifying child – this means you have a dependent child that is 18 or younger, or up to age 24 if in school
- You must have earned at least $1 in income in the tax year you’re applying for, but below a certain income limits – note that disability benefits, child support, or other cash benefits don’t qualify as earned income
Income limits and credit amounts depend on number of dependents and whether you are filing as head of household or jointly. Below is a chart that details these amounts:
More information on income eligibility can be found at the Department of Revenue website.
NOTE that non-US citizens are eligible for this tax credit if they have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and file taxes. To get an ITIN, you must go through the IRS – make an appointment with your local IRS office on IRS.gov. While it can take some time to be assigned an ITIN, the IRS can help you to file your taxes during the process. Even better, if you have filed your taxes while still applying for an ITIN, you can still submit a WFTC application!
If you are an immigrant, know that the WFTC will not jeopardize your safety and security!
Under Washington state law, your information and that of your dependents won’t be shared with any other state or federal agency, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Also, receiving this tax credit will not impact a person’s ability to obtain a visa or green card because a tax credit does not violate the public charge rule.
Not sure if you’re eligible? Do you need help submitting your application?
Call the WFTC Contact Center at 360-763-7300 or use the Eligibility Assistant on the website. Contact center providers assistance in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, with interpreters available for over 300 languages!
How Can I Apply for the WFTC?
To apply, you need to do the following:
- File your federal taxes
- Retrieve your 1040 (tax return)
- Fill out an application in person, online, or via paper application – make sure you have your SSN or ITIN!
Need help filing your taxes?
Families and individuals eligible for the WFTC are also eligible to many free tax prep resources. These include:
- E-filing on getyourrefund.org/
- Filing in person with help from the United Way of King County, AARP, or the IRS
- Visiting a Seattle Public Library location
Note that applicants have the option to use paid services to file taxes, however many of them are not aware of the WFTC – free resources are likely to make it easier to apply for the WFTC.
Don’t forget to file your taxes before April 18th!
Have you already filed your taxes and didn’t apply for the WFTC?
No problem! There are several ways you can apply:
- On the Department of Revenue website – note that you’ll need to create a free online account
- Applications available in English and Spanish
- Mailing a paper application – download and fill the application and mail it and a copy of your tax return to the Department of Revenue.
- Apply in person – you can visit Department of Revenue offices in Seattle, Kent, Bothell, and Tacoma. Addresses and operating hours available on the Department of Revenue website
Unlike the tax filing deadline, you have until December 31st to submit your WFTC application.
Want to spread the word about the WFTC?