Jan 29, 2013 1:08 PM by Melissa Canone
LAFAYETTE, La. - Taxes are top of mind for most Louisiana residents at this time. But in Louisiana alone, more than $2 billion of federal Earned Income Tax Credits go unclaimed.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, many qualified workers are failing to file for the tax credit. So Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. has partnered with the United Way of Acadiana to help qualifying customers secure their share of these refunds through an initiative called "Earn It. Keep It. Save It."
Louisiana residents who earn $50,000 or less may qualify to receive tax refunds of $3,000 or more in Earned Income Tax Credits. Volunteers will help file tax returns for qualifying residents. And these services are free of charge.
Residents have several opportunities to get help with their tax returns either at special Super Tax Day events or at Acadiana area Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites during the tax season, which officially began on Jan. 22. Call 2-1-1 or visit unitedwayofacadiana.org for more information, including a list of local VITA sites.
"Entergy serves regions with some of the highest poverty rates in the nation," said Morgan Stewart, external affairs manager for Entergy Louisiana and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana. "Entergy is committed to helping move customers from a position of need to a position of prosperity. Helping customers receive the earned income tax credits they deserve is one great step in the right direction."
"Many of our neighbors struggle just to get by every day," Liz Duhon, Entergy Gulf States Louisiana customer service manager, said. "By supporting EITC awareness and free tax information and preparation for our community members in need, we can help many receive the credits due to them, save money and get back on the road to self-sufficiency."
"The program is intended to help lift people out of poverty," said Margaret Trahan, United Way of Acadiana president and chief executive officer. "The tax return, with the Earned Income Tax Credit, can increase many individuals' income by 20 percent - a margin that could make or break a family by putting them on a different side of the poverty line.
"Our community is only as strong as its weakest link," Trahan added. "We all benefit from assisting those individuals who are often marginalized, are taken advantage of and fall through the cracks. Through the ‘Earn It. Keep It. Save It.' campaign, Entergy and United Way volunteers intend to direct more of these federal tax dollars to Louisiana residents."
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 2.8 million customers in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.