Vitelli bill to inform employees of the EITC passes committee

Posted: April 19, 2017 | Senator Vitelli

AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development Committee voted party line on Tuesday to recommend the passage of LD 1088, a measure to ensure employees are informed about their potential eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC.

The bill, “An Act to Require that Employees Be Informed of Potential Eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit,” is sponsored by Sen. Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic.

The EITC is a tax credit that incentivizes and rewards employment by providing larger tax returns for tens of thousands of working low-income Mainers. While nearly 100,000 EITC claims were made in Maine in tax year 2016, nearly 25 percent of eligible tax filers in the state do not claim it. The amended version of Vitelli’s bill passed by the committee would require the Maine Department of Labor to tell employers to send a notification to their employees of their potential eligibility for the credit.

“The premise of the Earned Income Tax Credit is simple: Low and middle income Mainers who worked hard and paid taxes should get some of their money back,” said Sen. Vitelli. “This bill is a step towards making sure that the quarter of Maine taxpayers who miss out on the EITC aren’t leaving money on the table. I am glad to see this go forward to the full Legislature.”

EITC claims in Maine brought back $207 million in refunds, for an average of $2,108 in 2016 and from 2009 to 2013, approximately 17,000 Mainers were lifted out of poverty each year by the EITC. Tax prep locations in Sagadahoc County alone helped return over $230,000 to filers on the midcoast last year.

At the public hearing last Thursday, the bill received the support of New Ventures Maine Regional Manager Janet Smith, Stability Manager for Goodwill Northern New England Ali Al Dhamen, AARP Maine, and the Maryland CASH Campaign. New Sharon resident Amy Scholl also spoke in support of the bill at the hearing, telling the committee that the EITC has been helpful her pay for everything from student loans to child care to car repairs.

LD 1088 will go before the full Legislature in the coming weeks.