Guest blog: Americans understand families’ need for EITC

Tax Credits for Working FamiliesThe following is a cross-post from Tax Credits for Working Families’ blog.

What does it really take for a family to “get by”? Gallup has been asking Americans that question for nearly 80 years. Their most recent survey shows that Americans believe that a family of four needs nearly $60,000 a year to make ends meet in their community. Almost forty percent of respondents picked an income between $50,000 and $75,000; another 22 percent picked between $30,000 and $50,000 while 18 percent picked over $75,000 and 13 percent had no idea. Only 7 percent thought a family could get by with less than $30,000 in income. (By comparison, the official federal poverty level for a family of four is considerably lower—under $24,000.)

So it’s not surprising that one of the most persuasive arguments for the EITC is that it helps working families meet basic needs. For tax year 2012, a family of four, headed by a married couple, can only claim the maximum EITC if their income is under $22,300 and by the time their income reaches $47,162 they can’t claim the credit at all.

If you explain that to claim the full credit a family of four must make less than $22,300 a year, most Americans will understand that simply isn’t enough income to make ends meet.

What does that tell us as advocates? Two things. First, it’s important to explain in dollars what a family must earn to claim the full credit. Second, it confirms what other survey research has shown—that people understand that an EITC helps a working family with this level of income meet basic needs.

By Debbie Stein, vice president for policy at the Hatcher Group (which oversees the Tax Credits for Working Families project)


About National Community Tax Coalition

National Community Tax Coalition (NCTC) is the nation's largest, most comprehensive membership organization for community-based organizations offering free tax and financial services to low-income working families.

Posted on May 22, 2013, in NCTC and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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