What Are People Doing for EITC Awareness Day?
This is the first installment of a week-long series on the Earned Income Tax Credit to celebrate EITC Awareness Day on Friday, January 27. Check back each day for a new post!
Tax season has started and organizations from Maine to California are spreading the word about EITC Awareness Day (January 27) throughout this week by highlighting their free tax payer assistance services to the community.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the nation’s largest and most effective anti-poverty programs. It annually lifts 6.6 million people out of poverty, half being children. According to the IRS, last year over 26 million workers received nearly $59 billion from EITC refunds – help with paying the rent, buying groceries, covering utility bills and handling other pressing needs.
Khadijah Jones, Director of Campaign for Working Families in Philadelphia, describes the importance of this day: “EITC Awareness Day is important to us because of its message power to move so many Americans out of moving out of Poverty. When you have 600+ organizations across the country with ONE single message, ‘to assist our working poor by providing them access to their Earned Income Credit,’ it is inspirational.”
EITC Awareness Day is so important because so many hard-hit families may not even know that this vital credit exists. Additionally, millions of workers will qualify for the EITC for the first time this year.
The IRS estimates that only four out of five eligible people claim and get their EITC. That means 20% of eligible people that could benefit from this tax credit aren’t getting the help they need. Volunteers at VITA tax sites are a critical way to get the word out about this tax credit and to get people to claim the credit.
The state of Maryland is making the whole month of January about EITC Awareness. To commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Montgomery County Department of Health & Human Services Community Action Agency participated in the county’s annual MLK Day of Service on January 16, with more than 50 volunteers joining to create EITC and Free Tax Help door hangers and EITC, Savings Bond and Free Tax posters.
Two more EITC events are being planned with Community Action Agency’s VITA partners: A January 23rd press event with the Maryland CASH Campaign will be held at Community Action’s Takoma Park- East Silver Spring VITA site to celebrate the passage of Maryland’s new Earned Income Credit Information Act. A January 27 EITC Open House with the City of Gaithersburg at Family Services Inc. will bring together VITA partners providing free asset building and tax prep services, including Gaithersburg’s Bank On initiative, with free food and resources for community members.
Here are only a few examples of planned events to promote EITC Awareness Day:
- In Hartford, CT, the Mayor and city council are working with Co-Opportunity, Inc. to proclaim February “EITC Month.”
- Volunteers from RESULTS in Iowa are bringing up the importance of these tax credits in town hall meetings with the Senators.
- The Delaware County Asset Development Group in Pennsylvania is holding a press conference at their tax site to call attention to their free tax preparation services and the EITC.
- The Governor of Illinois is visiting one of the Center for Economic Progress’s tax sites not only to promote the federal EITC, but also to promote a recently passed strengthened EITC.
Stay tuned to our blog for new blogs every day on other aspects of ETIC Awareness Day concluding with a wrap-up of our own EITC Awareness Day event in Washington, DC.
By Gail Parson, Manager of Civic Engagement