National EITC Awareness Day: Great Success!
The Community VITA field just wrapped-up yet another successful observance of EITC Awareness Day, which is used to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit and the valuable assistance it gives to hardworking, low- and moderate-income families. In 2011, this tax credit was responsible for keeping more than 6 million people – including about 3 million kids – out of poverty. And yet, the IRS estimates that each year, 1 in 5 eligible taxpayers fails to claim it.
NCTC hosted a Congressional briefing in Washington, DC on Jan. 24, co-sponsored by 19 other national policy and advocacy partner organizations, entitled “Together Strengthening Working Families: The Federal & State Earned Income Tax Credits.” The event drew more than 70 attendees, including many staff members from both the House and the Senate, and both Democrat and Republican offices.
Our speakers included two experts from Maryland: Sharron Holquin, an EITC recipient; and Sharon Strauss, a VITA provider in Montgomery County. Joining them were Roxy Caines, senior project associate with the National Tax Credit Outreach Campaign at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Debbie Stein, vice president for policy at the Hatcher Group, which oversees the Tax Credits for Working Families project; and NCTC’s own Sean Noble, director of public policy & research. The panelists discussed the many economic, health, and educational benefits associated with the EITC, in addition to the important interplay between federal and state EITCs, and the need for policymakers to continue to support and strengthen this crucial anti-poverty program.
“The EITC can really help households close the gap,” Sharon Strauss said, noting it assists families in covering such basics as rent, groceries, and utility bills.
“I think we can all agree: People who work full-time ought to be able to support their families and stay out of poverty,” added Debbie Stein, who stressed the importance of fending-off proposals for cutting state EITCs – and the significance of improving on them and establishing new ones.
Take a look at our two new EITC fact sheets, which were distributed at the event:
- 13 for ’13: Top reasons working families should claim the EITC in 2013 – and that policymakers should protect and strengthen it
- Together Strengthening Working Families: The Federal & State Earned Income Tax Credits
In addition to our Congressional briefing, the IRS reports that local officials and community organizations hosted more than 250 outreach or media events across the country as part of EITC Awareness Day. News media from Arizona, to Hawaii, to Michigan, to West Virginia, and nearly every state in between published articles promoting the EITC and reminding taxpayers to check if they are eligible – and then to file and claim the credit, if they are.
Thank you to our briefing co-sponsors and VITA partners across the country for making EITC Awareness Day such a big success!