The EITC: Help Educate Families About This Important Tool
As the number of Coloradans who work full-time but still struggle to makes end meet continues to grow, valuable tax benefits like the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are increasingly important to local families. This tax season, the federal EITC will put more than $775 million back into the pockets of Colorado families with children that made less than about $53,000 in 2015. For the first time in 15 years, the Colorado state EITC, which is worth 10 percent of the federal credit, will be available, helping working families get an even larger refund.
One of the nation’s most successful anti-poverty tools, the EITC, promotes employment while providing valuable refunds to lower-to-moderate wage earners who are striving to achieve financial security. In addition, recent studies by the The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities show that refundable tax credits (such as the EITC and CTC) help families at virtually every stage of life, including:
- Improved infant and maternal health
- Better school performance by students whose families receive these credits
- Greater college enrollment
- Increased work and earnings in the next generation
To help ensure that everyone who is eligible for the EITC claims it, The Piton Foundation, which is part of Gary Community Investments, provides free tax filing assistance to eligible families through the Tax Help Colorado program.
A partnership between Piton and the Colorado Community College System, Tax Help Colorado has 17 colleges operating 26 free tax sites in communities across the state during the 2016 tax season. At these locations, people who earn less than about $53,000 a year can get their taxes filed for free by IRS-trained students.
While more than 354,000 Coloradans claimed $772 million from the EITC last year, an estimated 100,000 Coloradans missed out on as much as $257 million in refunds because they didn’t know about the credit or how to claim it. In addition to linking more people to the EITC through the Tax Help Colorado program, Piton operates the annual Tax Credits for Working Families Public Information Campaign to increase awareness about the EITC. If you work with families that could be eligible for the EITC, please contact Courtney Sabine at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-454-3756 for more information on resources that are available to help you increase awareness about these important tax credits and free tax help.