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Friday, January 30, 2015

Are You Eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit?

Today is Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day in Washington.

Low-income people can reduce or eliminate the amount of federal income taxes they pay by claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit on their 2014 income tax returns. Some may even qualify for a lump-sum payment if the credit exceeds the amount of taxes owed.

Last year, the average Earned Income Tax Credit refund in Washington was $2,145 per person. Many Washington households, including seniors, those with lower incomes, and non-English speaking residents, do not know they are eligible or how to claim the credit.

Individuals can receive a tax refund of up to $6,143 depending on their eligibility. Even if no federal income tax is owed, a tax return must be filed in order to claim the money. The Department of Commerce and Department of Social and Health Services are partnering with other agencies and organizations across the state to raise awareness about the Earned Income Tax Credit and resources for free tax return preparation.

How To Find Out If You Qualify
Individuals can find out if they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit by visiting the Internal Revenue Service website at http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/EITC-Home-Page-Its-easier-than-ever-to-find-out-if-you-qualify-for-EITC .

Free tax preparation services are available to many low- and moderate-income families, by calling 2-1-1 and asking for “free tax preparation locations” or searching “free tax prep” at www.irs.gov.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

KOMO Story: Most Internet Lenders Are Illegal

Here's a good reminder to work with licensed lenders.

KOMO TV recently ran a story on internet lenders operating illegally in Washington state. Footage below.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Financial Education Spotlight: Thurston County

For those looking for financial education resources and classes in the Olympia area, need look no further than Bank on Thurston and Enterprise for Equity.

Low or No Cost Accounts
Bank on Thurston connects people with banks or credit unions that will help them to set up low cost or no cost accounts. The banks and credit unions offer a second chance to people who have had problems with overdrafts. Participating banks and credit unions will take extra steps to assist people with Mexican Consular or other foreign identification.  Bank on Thurston’s long term goal is to give individuals and families the tools they need to become financially stable.

For more information about Bank on Thurston visit http://bankonthurston.org/

Free, Financial Education Classes
As part of the Bank on Thurston program, Enterprise for Equity offers free, financial education courses. The month long course covers topics such as budgeting, banking, credit, debt, and more.

For the latest class schedule, visit http://www.enterpriseforequity.org/financial-education/

Monday, December 8, 2014

Plain Talk about the Foreclosure Process Video

The Seattle University School of Law, in collaboration with City of Seattle, has produced an educational video that explains the non-judicial foreclosure process and shows why it is important for homeowners to seek help as soon as possible.

Here’s the video:


For more information about the foreclosure process and assistance in Washington state, visit www.homeownership.wa.gov.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DFI's Guide to Smart Holiday Shopping

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, DFI has released a guide to smart holiday shopping.

The holidays can get quite chaotic and during this time of year it's extremely important to stay on top of your finances to avoid debt and fraud. Check out our guide for tips on how to
  • protect your purchases
  • avoid fraud
  • avoid debt
  • and more
View the guide online at http://www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/holiday-guide.htm