EITC/Free Tax Assistance
The Casey Foundation launched the National Tax Assistance for Working Families Campaign in January of 2003 to put the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to work for low-income families across the nation. In diverse communities from San Diego to Savannah, to rural North Carolina and New Hampshire, thousands of volunteers are providing families with free assistance in filing tax returns, claiming the EITC and other tax credits, and learning about ways to build assets and financial stability.
Harnessing the power of the EITC is an integral part of the Foundation's Family Economic Success approach. The EITC is one of the most effective anti-poverty strategies ever developed, lifting nearly 5 million people above the poverty line each year. First enacted in 1975, and expanded four times since then, the federal tax credit enjoys bi-partisan support. It is intended to reduce the tax burden on low-income workers, supplement their wages and assist in the welfare-to-work transition.
The EITC can contribute a substantial amount of money to families who are struggling to make ends meet. By raising awareness for the EITC and increasing the use of tax credits, the Foundation is helping more low-income families achieve economic stability and enter the financial mainstream. In addition, the Foundation seeks to protect the full value of the EITC for families by encouraging the use of free or low-cost tax preparation and helping low-income taxpayers avoid unnecessary fees and high-interest "rapid refund" loans.
Each local campaign that is affiliated with Casey's National Tax Assistance for Working Families Campaign pledges to:
- Promote greater awareness of the tax code benefits, especially the EITC, among low-income families;
- Advance low-cost or free tax preparation, and the avoidance of unnecessary charges; and
- Incorporate the use of tax refunds as part of an overall asset-building strategy.
Campaign members also agree to ensure high quality in the preparation of returns and customer service, and to gather data that could be used in national campaign evaluation.