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Oregon ranks near the bottom in use of anti-poverty tax credit

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PORTLAND, Ore. – It’s tax season, and records show Oregonians are missing out on millions every year in a federal tax credit that is intended to help low-income families.

Many low to middle income families qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Oregon ranks 48th in the country for percentage of eligible families who take advantage of the tax credit, based on analysis from tax records in 2013.

“That means there is a lot of money being left on the table, a lot of families that could be helped and lifted out of poverty,” said Sarah Adams, Executive Director of Cash Oregon, an organization that helps with tax prep.

On average, Oregonians who qualify get a credit of more than $2,000 in a year.

Adams says that money helps many families get out of poverty.

“It's one of the most successful anti-poverty programs in the nation,” Adams said.

About one in five Oregonians who qualify do not take advantage of the credit. According to the Oregon Center for Public Policy, the missed EITCs cost Oregon’s economy up to $130 million in federal dollars.

Adams says many people do not know about the tax credit, or just do not file. Below a certain income, residents are not required to file taxes. Adams says those folks would benefit greatly if they filed their taxes and received the EITC refund.

Taxes are due on April 18. Adams says you can call 2-1-1 to be put in touch with a free tax preparation service, or go to their website.

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