Working with schools offers many opportunities to reach families that may qualify for the EITC and the CTC. Schools are usually viewed as trustworthy institutions and families pay attention to information children bring home from school. Engaging colleges and universities can help expand the availability of free tax filing assistance.
- Local school districts
- School officials and administrators
- School counselors
- State Department of Education
- Community colleges and technical schools
- High schools
- Parent Teacher Associations
1. Help schools host free tax filing assistance sites.
Schools have the ideal space and resources — such as computers and desks — to serve as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites. High schools, community colleges, and universities can help provide this much-needed service in under-served communities.
2. Identify families that are likely to qualify.
Focus on schools with many students eligible for free or reduced-price meals, or Title I schools that serve elementary school students in lower-income communities. Your state Department of Education can identify school districts with these programs. Also reach out to Head Start programs.
3. Enlist school staff to help conduct outreach.
School superintendents and principals can distribute tax credit information with materials like school newsletters, report cards, and lunch menus. School counselors often come into contact with families experiencing financial hardship and are well-positioned to promote the credits. Check out this 20 minute video to learn how a school district successfully conducted CTC outreach:
4. Reach out to students in the workforce.
Administrators can provide tax credit information to General Education diploma (GED) classes. Community colleges or technical schools can conduct outreach to students who may be working part-time, training to change jobs, or preparing to enter the workforce. Other students taking non-credit courses, such as personal finance, may also be eligible.
5. Involve students in conducting outreach activities.
Schools can incorporate community service activities into their curriculum. Students can help publicize the EITC and the CTC in their communities and volunteer at VITA sites. Student service groups can organize tax credit outreach projects.
6. Coordinate tax credit outreach with financial aid promotion.
High schools can incorporate FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) promotion or help into VITA sites. Community colleges and universities can include information on the American Opportunity Tax Credit while promoting the EITC, the CTC, and VITA.
7. Share information about the 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit and expanded Earned Income Tax Credit.
The 2021 American Rescue Plan included multiple temporary one-year tax credit changes. The 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit is worth up to $3,600 for each child under 6 years old, and $3,000 for each child between 6 and 17 years old. The 2021 expanded EITC is worth up to $1,500 for workers not raising children or up to $6,700 for workers raising children in their home.
People who were eligible for the 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit or the 2021 expanded Earned Income Tax Credit and didn’t claim them can file a 2021 tax return by April 18, 2025. Learn more about filing prior years taxes.