EITC Awareness Day: Expanding Opportunity and Building Hope

Jesse and Juana

Jesse and Juana

Things had finally turned around for Jesse. He had found a job at a production warehouse and was grateful for it. But, he still wasn’t able to afford an apartment. When Jesse had his taxes prepared at United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site, he learned that he would be getting the Earned Income Tax Credit. He and his wife Juana used their tax return to move out of their car and into a home.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps millions of workers like Jesse keep more of what they earn to pay for things like reliable transportation to get to work, housing, and food. Heart of West Michigan United Way’s Kent County Tax Credit Coalition helps people claim the EITC at tax time. Just last year, we helped connect more than 3,500 local people to $5.5 million in tax refunds. 

You can help in two ways:

1. Advocate to expand the EITC. We know EITC works, yet some working Americans are excluded from it. In fact, about 7.5 million Americans are actually taxed into poverty largely because they are ineligible for the EITC or the EITC is too small. Help us advocate for opportunities to expand the EITC to ensure all working Americans can access the pro-work, anti-poverty impacts of the credit. 

2. Spread the word. Help family and friends connect to the EITC. One in five Americans who are eligible for the EITC don’t claim it because they don’t know about it. Anyone who earned $55,000 or less last year can call 211 and make an appointment to get their taxes prepared for free by trained and certified volunteers with KCTCC. Anyone who earned $64,000 or less can do their taxes for free at MyFreeTaxes.com and can connect any credits for which they are eligible.

By connecting local community members like Jesse to existing resources and advocating to expand what works, you can make a difference today.