Help Your Residents Get the Tax Credits They Deserve

The National League of Cities (NLC) would like to help your city celebrate the annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day on January 31.

City leaders can take advantage of this opportunity to ensure their qualified residents receive the highest tax credits possible with NLC’s updated EITC in Cities toolkit. With these sample social media posts and templates for a press release, proclamation, and email to community partners, you can jump-start awareness in your city today.

Local officials know the balancing act many families perform every day to stay afloat. Household budgets are stretched to pay rent and utilities as well as purchase necessities like health insurance and food.

Fortunately, eligible households qualify for EITC, a refundable federal tax credit, that helps make ends meet for working people and contributes to local economies.

However, roughly 20 percent of eligible taxpayers, including those who may not know they are eligible, don’t claim the EITC and other federal benefits when they file their taxes. This means families across the country miss out on hard-earned income that could help them get out of debt, build savings or even just pay bills.

In 2019, 25 million eligible workers and families received nearly $63 billion from the EITC. An average of $2,476 per return goes a long way for households living paycheck-to-paycheck.

This tax season, families with two children who earned less than $46,703 (or less than $52,493 for married workers) are eligible for a credit of up to $5,828.

This credit represents $60 billion in federal funding coming back to cities. Recipients, in turn, are better able to afford shopping for groceries and paying other bills or even making larger purchases, such as a car, that can improve their overall economic mobility. An estimate for the city of San Antonio, Texas, shows that $1.00 of EITC outreach spending results in $1.58 in local economic activity.

This EITC Awareness Day, city leaders can work with community partners to help families learn more about this crucial refundable tax credit, among others, to help boost incomes and contribute to the local economy.

The NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families has helped cities implement EITC outreach campaigns for almost twenty years. Here are some steps city leaders can consider to help residents over the tax season:

  • Encourage residents to take advantage of free tax filing services via the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
  • Promote the EITC and other tax time benefits through social media and other city-wide communications with samples from the toolkit.
  • Create a website (like Dayton, Ohio!) to help residents navigate resources for tax filing and claiming the EITC.

Thank you for being a part of this effort to help alleviate the burden for millions of working families this tax season.

Courtney CoffinAbout the Author: Courtney Coffin is the Senior Associate for Economic Opportunity and Financial Empowerment in the NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.