The Island County Opportunity Council is providing assistance to county families eligible for a new tax credit.
The Washington State Legislature passed the Working Families Tax Credit in 2008, but did not vote to fund it until 2021. This is the first year it will be available.
Jennifer Marzocca, an employment specialist with the Opportunity Council, said this new program is less like a tax credit than a cash back refund directly to eligible families.
Individuals ages 25 to 65, or those with qualifying children, earning annual income below a certain threshold can apply to receive a $300-$1,200 tax credit. Marzocca said that more than 6,000 Island County residents, including around 5% of the county’s children, live below the poverty line.
“It is shocking to a lot of people on the island how many families are struggling,” she said.
While it models the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Working Families Tax Credit differs in that immigrants are eligible, regardless of their documentation status, Marzocca said. They only need to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, to proceed with the application.
Marzocca said the Opportunity Council can help eligible families apply for the tax credit beginning Feb. 1 when the application period opens. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31 of this year. Anyone with questions can email Marzocca at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The organization will also hold pop-up application help sessions throughout the county. There will be pop-ups at the Oak Harbor Library from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 15 and noon to 2 p.m. March 1, and at the Freeland Library from 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 8. The dates and locations of other pop-ups will be posted on the Opportunity Council Facebook page as they are scheduled.
The Opportunity Council can also point immigrants in the right direction to obtain an ITIN, which they need to apply for the tax credit.
Washington residents can check their eligibility at workingfamiliescredit.wa.gov.