Today is Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day, a time to bring attention to the EITC and other refundable tax credits to encourage more eligible taxpayers to claim them. Some 25 million working households claimed nearly $63 billion in federal EITCs last year.
The EITC’s critical support helps low- and moderate-income working families meet daily needs. Taxpayers mostly use the credit to pay for necessities like groceries, rent, utilities, medical expenses, and transportation, studies show.
The EITC is also a powerful anti-poverty tool, lifting 5.6 million people out of poverty in 2018, including about 3 million children. Studies find many long-term benefits to claiming the EITC. For example, children whose families receive the credit have healthier birth weights, better childhood nutrition, higher school enrollment, higher test scores, higher high school graduation rates, and higher rates of college entry.
While the EITC is highly effective, several proposals before Congress would further strengthen it and/or the Child Tax Credit, including the Working Families Tax Relief Act, the American Family Act, and the House Ways and Means Committee-passed Economic Mobility Act. The Working Families Tax Relief Act’s EITC and Child Tax Credit expansions would improve the economic well-being of an estimated 46 million households.
Unfortunately, an estimated 1 in 5 eligible taxpayers miss out on the EITC because they don’t know about it, don’t know how to claim it, or don’t know where to find trustworthy tax help. CBPP conducts a national outreach campaign to help connect eligible taxpayers to the EITC, other refundable tax credits, and free tax filing assistance. The Get It Back Campaign provides several resources, including an EITC eligibility tool, EITC estimator, posters, flyers in 24 languages, videos, and an EITC graphics library.