National EITC Awareness Day: Spread the Word

Jan 24, 2013

By Lavanya Mohan

Friday, January 25th is National EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) Awareness Day, a day when advocates across the country will be working to get the word out about the program and how eligible individuals can benefit from it. In 2011, the EITC lifted 5.7 million people out of poverty, including 3.1 million children. While EITC has been successful in helping families rise out of poverty, according to the IRS, about one in five EITC eligible families and individuals do not claim this credit.  Those who do not are generally unaware that they are eligible or do not fill out a tax return. Some of these eligible non-recipients include people who are self-employed or temporarily unemployed, people with adult children with disabilities, grandparents caring for grandchildren, and individuals not proficient in English.

The EITC has consistently proven to be an effective anti-poverty tool, providing a refundable tax credit to millions of people, both working families (earning less than $50,300) and individuals (earning less than $36,900). The latest numbers show that in 2009, 27 million families and individuals benefited from the EITC. In addition, in 2010, 2.6 million people, including 1.4 million children benefited from the refundable child tax credit.

The refundable tax credits make low-wage work pay and help families and individuals with daily living costs such as commuting expenses to and from work, payments for home mortgage and repair, and in some cases, education expenses. Additionally, every dollar received by a low-income family has a multiplier effect of 1.5 to 2 times on the local economy when families spend on housing, food and other goods and services. Recent research also shows that the EITC has lasting outcomes on health and children's educational performance.

Simply put, the EITC works, it reduces poverty, encourages work and sustains local economies. On National EITC Awareness Day, and as we head into tax filing season, we encourage you to spread the word about the benefits and impact of the EITC and the child tax credit. For more information on eligibility and tax filing support, see the National EITC Outreach campaign.



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