Help Your Residents Get the Tax Returns They Deserve

Roughly 20 percent of eligible taxpayers don’t claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) when they file their yearly taxes. That means many of your residents are leaving money on the table at tax time – money they can use to stabilize their family budgets and boost the local economy.

The National League of Cities (NLC) wants to help city officials help boost incomes of families in their communities by making sure they are aware of the EITC before they file their taxes.

Ahead of EITC Awareness Day on Jan. 25, the NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) is offering a guide cities can use to work with local partners and promote the EITC to residents.

The EITC Awareness Day Communications Guide offers ideas on how your city can leverage the upcoming national EITC Awareness Day to spread the word to residents about the credit and create stronger connections with nonprofit organizations that provide valuable tax preparation services.

This also offers the opportunity for city leaders to connect with, celebrate and encourage free tax filing services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

The EITC was created in the mid-1970s as a tool to offset the Social Security payroll tax and rising food and energy prices. The credit’s importance has grown tremendously since its beginning. It provide many workers with the largest single check that they will receive during the year. Nationwide during , 25 million eligible workers and families received roughly $63 billion in EITC refunds. In 2019, the maximum credit available for families with three or more children will be $6,431.

This money can go a long way for many, particularly for low-income families. Because of this, the EITC is considered one of the most powerful tools for increasing family financial stability. The EITC played an instrumental role in lifting 5.8 million people above the poverty threshold in 2016, including 3 million children.

With this influx of dollars into families’ budgets, the EITC also helps stimulate local economies. The EITC provides an injection of additional income to working families that use these funds to pay off debts, make home repairs, or purchase much-needed home goods.

NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) has created a guide to help cities leaders connect with VITA partners and raise resident awareness of the EITC by celebrating EITC Awareness Day.

With these tools, the YEF Institute aims to make it simpler for cities to raise awareness in their community about the important benefits of the EITC. We hope that you will join NLC and other cities across the country in celebrating EITC Awareness Day.

To access the EITC Awareness Day guide, please click here. To download NLC’s extensive Toolkit on Maximizing the Earned Income Tax Credit, click here.

For more information about EITC Awareness Day and EITC outreach campaigns, contact Patrick Hain at (202) 626-3099 or

About the authors:

Evan Elwell_smallEvan Elwell is the intern for the Economic Opportunity and Financial Empowerment team in the NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.


Patrick Hain small.jpgPatrick Hain is principal associate for Financial Empowerment in the NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.