January 23, 2012
For Immediate Release
Debi Derrick
New Year Brings New Opportunity for Tax Credits and Free Tax Hel

Entergy, IRS work together to promote awareness of VITA centers, EITC

Beaumont, Texas – It’s a new year and no doubt many Texans began it by resolving to handle their money a little better.

This year, Entergy Texas, Inc. is once again working with the Internal Revenue Service to help put money in lower-earning Texans’ pockets and, therefore, additional dollars into the state’s economy.

The company is sponsoring Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites throughout its 27-county service area to provide free tax preparation help to those who qualify and to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit. Texans who earn under $45,000 may qualify for EITC and receive free tax preparation assistance at local VITA sites. To find the assistance site nearest you, you may call the IRS hotline number for VITA sites at 800-906-9887. Your local Entergy customer service manager also has a listing of sites Entergy is helping to sponsor in Southeast Texas.

“In Texas, 17 percent of the population qualifies as low-income,” said Vernon Pierce, customer service director, Entergy Texas, Inc. “EITC helps them and, in turn, it helps our state by pumping more money into the economy.

“Studies have shown that the EITC helps reduce poverty,” Pierce explained. “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 Texas’ efforts bolster the IRS campaign to educate taxpayers about the EITC and requirements to claim the credit. 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.

“Working families may receive up to $5,751 if they qualify,” Pierce said. “That can make a huge difference in a family’s life and a big impact on the state’s economy.”

In the 2010 tax filing season, 2.57 million Texas residents filed EITC claims, receiving a total of $6.48 billion. Claims averaged $2,522 each.

“We believe that number could easily increase if more people were aware of the program,” Pierce said. “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.

Entergy Texas, Inc. provides electricity to more than 400,000 customers in 27 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Twitter: @EntergyTX