Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness
The federal EITC can provide a working family with a refund up to $5,981. The IRS estimates, however, that 20 percent of eligible workers fail to claim this important tax credit. We want to ensure that all low-income families who worked in 2012 know about the EITC. We encourage you to sponsor or partner to support an EITC awareness event. The goal is to generate extensive print, electronic and social media coverage about the EITC, who is eligible and how to claim the tax credit. Materials to support awareness activities can be found on the EITC Central web site at www.eitc.irs.gov. Local EITC and asset building coalitions are also a good resource for EITC outreach materials and information. You can find your local coalition through an Internet search or by emailing the IRS at eitc.program@IRS.gov.
There are many opportunities to promote EITC awareness through the EITC Central web site. You will find an array of useful marketing tools, including communication messages, sample newsletter articles and how-to tips in both English and Spanish. In addition, many low-income families and individuals who claim the EITC use paid preparers even though they are eligible for free tax preparation assistance. Free tax preparation assistance is available through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Most VITA sites offer free electronic filing for faster refunds. VITA sites can be located through 211 and 311 information systems, by calling 1-800-906-9887, and by searching for VITA sites on www.irs.gov.
EITC refunds can represent a major opportunity for low-income working families to build
assets and increase their financial security. To provide additional opportunities to save at tax time, the IRS allows tax filers to automatically buy U.S. Savings Bonds when filing for tax refunds. Tax filers who are getting refunds can buy U.S. Savings Bonds for others, as well as for themselves and the Savings Bond purchase option is available to tax filers without bank accounts. The minimum bond purchase is $50, making it possible to build savings one bond at a time. For more information on Savings Bonds, visit http://bondsmakeiteasy.org.
EITC refunds can also be used to open Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) through an Assets for Independence (AFI) Project. IDAs are matched savings accounts that enable low income and low-wealth individuals to save for a specified goal within a defined time frame. The savings goals are homeownership, small business ownership, and post-secondary education. For more information on IDAs and EITC, visit http://idaresources.org.
Please join us in getting the word out about EITC and these important financial resources. Together, we can ensure that all EITC eligible workers and families receive the credit that they earned.