RALEIGH — Robeson County leads the state in per-capita tax credits for working families, according to a study by the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center at the North Carolina Justice Center.
According to the findings, Robeson County residents received returns totaling more than $6 million in 2009 from three state tax credits — the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit — which are meant to put money back into the wallets of low- and moderate-income families.
That results in nearly $134 for each household in Robeson County. The statewide average is approximately $85.
“These credits infuse capital into the county,” said Jeff Shaw, director of communications for the NC Justice Center. “That stimulates jobs, economic growth and consumer spending.”
Shaw said that because the credits go to low- and moderate-income families — who are more likely to spend money in local economies than the wealthy — the entire county benefits from the credits.
The Earned Income Tax Credit is a “pro-work” credit only available to working families. The Child Tax Credit, for working families earning less that $100,000 per year, is a $100-per-child tax credit for dependent children under age 17. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit covers child care costs up to $3,000 for one qualifying dependent or $6,000 for two or more.
North Carolina counties receiving the most dollars in tax returns include: Mecklenburg with approximately $32 million; Wake with $27 million; and Guilford with $17 million. Joining Robeson County at the top of the list of most dollars per capita are Edgecombe and Hoke with $125 and $122 per person, respectively.
Edwin McLenaghan, author of the report, wrote that “these tax credits, especially the Earned Income Tax Credit, go some way toward minimizing the existing upside-down nature of the tax system.”
“Our state tax system is regressive,” Shaw said. He said that poor families pay a higher percentage of their annual income in state and local taxes than the wealthiest 1 percent of North Carolinians.
According to Shaw, North Carolina families that earn less than $17,000 a year pay 9.5 percent in state and local taxes, while the wealthiest families pay 8.1 percent of their annual income.
“These credits go to alleviate some of that burden,” Shaw said.
n Staff writer Ali Rockett can be reached at (910) 272-6127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.