The City of Hartford filed a lawsuit in District Court this week to block an Internal Revenue Service test aimed at reducing erroneous earned income tax credit payments that the city alleges violates taxpayers' civil rights and discriminates against its African-American and Latino taxpayers, who make up the bulk of those who receive the credit.

According to the city, the Hartford pre-audit effort, which it says constitutes one-third of a nationwide test of the EITC by the IRS, would allow the agency to delay or deny payments to 8,200 Hartford area families who receive the EITC until they submit sworn statements from third parties (such as ministers, daycare workers, etc.) proving that their children resided with them for more than six months out of the year. The city said that the amount of delayed or denied payments could exceed $14 million in the Hartford area alone.

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