Sen. Vitelli bill to help more Mainers access tax assistance becomes law

Posted: July 19, 2021 | Senator Vitelli

AUGUSTA — On Thursday, July 15, a bill from Sen. Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, became law without the governor’s signature. LD 1651, “An Act To Support Working Families through Outreach and Education about Tax Credits for Persons of Low Income,” will help more Mainers get the most out of their tax return by providing support to CA$H Maine.

Sen. Eloise Vitelli

“So many Mainers who need help the most don’t understand what resources and tax credits are available to assist them. For example, the first payments of the expanded Child Tax Credit went out the same day this bill became law. This program will lift an estimated 10,000 Maine children out of poverty. But families need to know that they qualify and what this program can do for them,” said Sen. Vitelli. “Luckily, CA$H Maine is here to provide quality support to Maine families and to help them plan for the future. The funding this new law provides to CA$H is essential to helping hardworking Mainers reach their financial goals.”

As amended, LD 1651 makes financial tools, education and resources available to more Mainers by providing funding to CA$H Maine.

“Central to CA$H Maine’s services is free tax preparation. From 2003-2020 CA$H Maine has filed more than 53,000 federal and state tax returns and helped clients claim more than $80 million worth of federal tax refunds including more than $28 million in Earned Income Tax Credit,” said Janet Smith with CA$H Maine, in testimony supporting the bill.

Though the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, is worth an average of $2,461 per filer nationwide, about 20 percent of those eligible fail to take advantage of it every year. That’s money left on the table, due in large part to a lack of awareness and the complexities of eligibility, with one-third of the EITC eligible population changing every year.

LD 1651 also is supported by United Way of Maine and Maine Equal Justice.

The new law goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.