Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A Letter from the IRS

Today I got a letter from the IRS. I was terrified. I filed my tax returns on time! Was I being audited? Who would audit a student with $652 of adjusted gross income!?

I opened the letter and discovered that the IRS is doing a new and wonderful thing to help low-income people.

People who work but don't make much money sometimes qualify for an "Earned Income Credit." In actuality, this is more a subsidy than a credit or refund because people who qualify generally don't make enough money to pay any taxes. One of the biggest problems with this great program is that people often don't know when they qualify.

My letter from the IRS was titled: "You May Be Eligible for a Refund If You Qualify for the Earned Income Credit." The letter clearly stated: "This is not a bill." It explained that I could have some money coming to me and asked me four simply-phrased questions that would tell me whether I qualify.

I don't qualify because I'm not working. I'm a student. But I think the policy of sending people letters to let them know that they might qualify is a GREAT ONE. This means that more low-income people will actually get what they are entitled to.

Cheers to the IRS, which is all too often vilified.

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