H.R. 6371 (110th): Earned Income Credit Information Act of 2008

110th Congress, 2007–2009. Text as of Jun 25, 2008 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6371

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 25, 2008

(for himself, Mr. Crowley, Mr. Kind, Ms. Schwartz, Mr. Levin, Ms. Sutton, Mr. Filner, and Mr. Bishop of New York) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means

A BILL

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require employers to notify their employees of the availability of the earned income credit.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Earned Income Credit Information Act of 2008.

2.

Findings and purpose

(a)

Findings

The Congress hereby finds:

(1)

President Gerald Ford and Congress created the earned income credit (EIC) in 1975 to offset the adverse effects of Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes on working poor families and to encourage low-income workers to seek employment rather than welfare.

(2)

President Ronald Reagan described the earned income credit as “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job-creation measure to come out of Congress.”

(3)

Over the last 30 years, the EIC program has grown into the largest Federal anti-poverty program in the United States. In 2005, 22.8 million tax filers received $42.4 billion in tax credits through the EIC program.

(4)

In 2007, the EIC provided a maximum Federal benefit of $4,716 for families with 2 or more children, $2,853 for families with a single child, and $428 for a taxpayer with no qualifying children.

(5)

Based on analysis conducted by the General Accountability Office, 25 percent of those eligible to receive the EIC do not take advantage of the tax benefit.

(6)

Based on analysis conducted by the Joint Economic Committee, working Americans may have lost out on approximately $8 billion in unclaimed earned income credits in 2004.

(7)

In response to a study by the California Franchise Tax Board that found that there were approximately 460,000 California families that qualified, but did not file, for the EIC, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Assembly Bill 650, the Earned Income Tax Credit Information Act, on October 13, 2007. The law requires that California employers notify employees of their potential eligibility for the EIC.

(8)

In order to ensure that tax benefits designed to assist working Americans reach the maximum number of people, the Federal Government should enact a similar law.

(b)

Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to inform the greatest possible number of Americans about their potential eligibility for the earned income credit in a way that is neither costly nor burdensome for employers or the Government.

3.

Employer notification of availability of earned income credit

(a)

In general

Chapter 77 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to miscellaneous provisions) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

7529.

Employer notification of availability of earned income credit

(a)

In general

Every employer required to provide a statement under section 6051 (relating to W–2 statements) to a potential EIC-eligible employee shall provide to such employee the notice described in subsection (c).

(b)

Potential EIC-eligible employee

For purposes of this section, the term potential EIC-eligible employee means any individual whose annual wages from the employer are less than the amount of earned income (as defined in section 32(c)(2)) at which the credit under section 32(a) phases out for an individual described in section 32(c)(1)(A)(ii) (or such other amount as may be prescribed by the Secretary).

(c)

Contents of notice

(1)

In general

The notice required by subsection (a) shall be—

(A)

a copy of Internal Revenue Service Notice 797 or any successor notice, or

(B)

a notice stating: Based on your annual earnings, you may be eligible to receive the earned income credit from the Federal Government. The earned income credit is a tax credit for certain working individuals and families. In 2008, earned income credit benefits are available for taxpayers with earnings up to $38,646 ($41,646 if married filing jointly). Eligibility and benefit amounts vary according to filing status (single or married), number of qualifying children, and other sources of income. For example, in 2008, earned income credit benefits are available for childless taxpayers earning less than $15,880, taxpayers with 1 child earning less than $36,995, and taxpayers with 2 or more children earning less than $41,646. In most cases, earned income credit payments will not be used to determine eligibility for Medicaid, supplemental security income, food stamps, low-income housing or most temporary assistance for needy families programs. Even if you do not owe Federal taxes, you may qualify, but must file a tax return to receive the earned income credit. For information regarding your eligibility to receive the earned income credit, contact the Internal Revenue Service by calling 1–800–829–1040 or through its web site at www.irs.gov. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free tax preparation assistance to individuals under the above income limits. Call the IRS at 1–800–906–9887 to find sites in your area..

(2)

Years after 2008

In the case of the notice in paragraph (1)(B) for taxable years beginning in a calendar year after 2008—

(A)

such calendar year shall be substituted for 2008,

(B)

the lowest amount of earned income for a taxpayer with no qualifying children at which the credit phases out under section 32(a)(2)(B) for taxable years beginning in such calendar year shall be substituted for $15,880,

(C)

the lowest amount of earned income for a taxpayer with 1 qualifying child at which the credit phases out under section 32(a)(2)(B) for such taxable years shall be substituted for $36,995, and

(D)

the lowest amount of earned income for a taxpayer with 2 or more qualifying children at which the credit phases out under section 32(a)(2)(B) for such taxable years shall be substituted for $41,646.

(d)

Exemption for small employers

(1)

In general

An employer shall not be required to provide notices under this section during any calendar year if the employer employed an average of 25 or fewer employees on business days during the preceding calendar year. For purposes of the preceding sentence, a preceding calendar year may be taken into account only if the employer was in existence throughout such year.

(2)

Employers not in existence in preceding year

In the case of an employer which was not in existence throughout the preceding calendar year, the determination under paragraph (1) shall be based on the average number of employees that it is reasonably expected such employer will employ on business days in the current calendar year.

(3)

Special rules

(A)

Controlled groups

For purposes of this subsection, all persons treated as a single employer under subsection (b), (c), (m), or (o) of section 414 shall be treated as 1 employer.

(B)

Predecessors

Any reference in this subsection to an employer shall include a reference to any predecessor of such employer.

(e)

Timing and manner of notice

The notice required by subsection (a) shall be provided to each employee at the same time and in the same manner as the employer statement is furnished to each such employee under section 6051.

.

(b)

Penalty for failure To provide notice

Section 6724(d)(2) of such Code is amended by striking or at the end of subparagraph (BB), by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (CC) and inserting , or, and by inserting after subparagraph (CC) the following new subparagraph:

(DD)

section 7529 (relating to employer notification of availability of earned income credit).

.

(c)

Clerical amendment

The table of sections for such chapter 77 is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

Sec. 7529. Employer notification of availability of earned income credit..

(d)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall apply with respect to statements required to be provided under section 6051 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 more than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.