EITC for Non-Parent who Is Missing W-2

Q: I am a CASA working with a Non-Minor Dependent who had part-time employment in 2014. He is not a parent and doesn’t have his W-2, either because it wasn’t sent to him or because he misplaced it.

As a non-parent, is he eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?  Should he go ahead and file his taxes without his W-2 or should we track it down and then file? Is there a special form that must be filed to claim the EITC?

A:  An individual does not have to be a parent to claim the EITC. An individual with no children qualifies if they earn less than $14,590 and a parent with one child qualifies if they earn less than $38,511.

If the youth does not have his W-2, he must file his taxes OR file for an extension by April 15th. To file his taxes, he must complete a form on which he reports his estimated wages. Or, he can complete a form and automatically get a six-month extension. During that time, you can help him contact the IRS and request his W-2.

With only 16 days until the filing deadline, it is likely too late to get a new W-2 and he should proceed with either filing using an estimate of his earnings or filing for an extension.

To claim the ETIC, an individual must complete Form 1040A or 1040. Even though it is shorter and easier to complete, do not use Form 1040 EZ. If you use this form, the youth will not be able claim the EITC and will potentially lose out on thousands of dollars.

While this process may appear cumbersome, it is extremely important to help the youth complete it.  A 2009 report by the New America Foundation found that 800,000 Californians failed to claim $1.2 billion in EITC refunds.

The IRS provides a list of providers that offer free electronic filing for low-income individuals. Take a moment and share this important resource with the youth in your care today.

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