Entergy, IRS work together to promote awareness of VITA centers, EITC
BATON ROUGE, La. — With the beginning
of every new year, money issues are historically at or near the top of many
people’s resolution lists. This year, Entergy Louisiana, LLC and Entergy Gulf
States Louisiana, L.L.C. are working with the IRS to help put money in
Louisianans’ pockets and millions of dollars into the state’s economy.
The companies are sponsoring
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites and supporting EITC Awareness Day and
Super Tax Day events throughout their service areas to provide free tax
preparation help to those who qualify and to promote the Earned Income Tax
Credit. Louisianans who earn under $50,000 may qualify for EITC and receive free
tax preparation assistance at local VITA sites. To find the assistance site
nearest you, call 211 or 800-906-9887, or visit the IRS website at
irs.gov/eitc or the Louisiana United Way
website at launitedway.org.
“Studies have shown that the EITC
helps reduce poverty,” said Steven Scheurich, vice president of customer service
and external affairs for Entergy’s Louisiana utilities. “Some families use EITC
payments for significant purchases, such as a home or to pay off debts. Others
use the credit to start saving for the future.”
Entergy’s efforts bolster both the
IRS and United Way campaigns to educate taxpayers about the EITC, requirements
to claim the tax credit and locations where taxpayers can receive free tax
Entergy representatives will also be
on hand at select VITA sites and Super Tax Day events over the coming weeks to
provide information about energy conservation and efficiency, level billing,
MyAccountOnline and other tools available for customers to control their energy
use, manage their Entergy accounts and save money on their electricity bills.
Along with sponsoring the VITA sites,
the company is mailing bill inserts about EITC to customers who receive paper
bills, placing outbound calls to select customers and including messages about
the credit on My Account Online and on paper bills. The company is also
providing door hangers and flyers about EITC to customers in certain regions who
may qualify for the tax credit.
“It’s part of Entergy’s efforts to
empower our customers to save money, whether by conserving power, managing
energy dollars or maximizing tax credits,” said Morgan Stewart, external affairs
manager for Entergy’s Louisiana utilities. “The IRS estimates that only four out
of five eligible workers claim their EITC. We want to help make sure everyone
who has earned the credit knows how to file, claim and get it.
“According to the IRS, in 2011, the
average credit in Louisiana was $2,650, but working families can receive up to
$5,751 if they qualify. That can make a huge difference in a family’s life and a
big impact on the state’s economy.”
For the 2011 tax year, 522,159 EITC
claims were made on Louisiana income tax returns, and a total of $1.34 billion
in these tax credits were issued in Louisiana, according to the IRS. At VITA
sites sponsored by Entergy in Louisiana alone, 4,237 income tax returns were
processed and $4.3 million in EITC tax credits were issued in 2011.
“We believe these numbers could easily increase if more people were aware of the
program,” said Stewart. “This in turn would reduce demand for public service and
benefit programs, and strengthen our communities.”
The EITC is a federal income tax
credit for low-income workers who are eligible for and claim the credit.
Taxpayers who qualify for and claim the credit can reduce the amount of tax they
owe, pay no tax or get a refund. The IRS estimates that nationally 79 percent of
all eligible taxpayers receive the EITC—meaning approximately 21 percent do not
claim the credit they deserve.
For a complete list of EITC
requirements, interested applicants should review publication 596, which is
available by calling the IRS at 1-800-TAX FORM (1-800-829-3676) or by visiting
the IRS website at irs.gov/eitc.
Additionally, information about local VITA sites is available by calling 211 or
by visiting the Louisiana United Way website,
Entergy’s Louisiana utility companies
serve more than one million customers through the operating companies Entergy
Louisiana, LLC and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. With operations in
southern, central and northeastern Louisiana, the companies are part of Entergy
Corporation’s electric system serving 2.7 million customers in Louisiana,
Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.