What is it?

Did you know that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is among the most effective tools we have to fight poverty? The EITC is a cash back tax credit that makes work pay better by putting money back in the pockets of working families and individuals. California established the Cal EITC in 2015 to work in tandem with the federal EITC. Since then, CalEITC4Me has helped to secure over $4 billion in state and federal EITC dollars for more than 4 million households across the state.

One way that we’re able to do that is through our back-to-school campaign. While the April 15 federal filing deadline passed, it’s not too late for parents to file and claim an EITC refund.

Why It’s Important

According to the IRS, only one in five eligible people claim the Earned Income Tax Credit — that means millions and millions are people are leaving billions of dollars on the table.   As a result, many families who could receive $6,000 or more aren’t claiming the money they’ve earned. That’s money that could help families better afford life’s basic needs, thereby increasing the odds that their children, your students, will show up to school ready to learn and succeed. In fact, research has found children from families that receive an EITC refund have better health outcomes and school performance than those who don’t.

Toolkit Resources

Our toolkit includes a sample letter in English and Spanish with information for parents about how file their taxes for free and claim a Cal EITC refund that we hope you will share with them, as well as sample posts and graphics to share on your social media channels. Your help, as trusted messengers, is is vital to reaching parents who haven’t filed their taxes and could be leaving money on the table. You can also visit your Helpful Materials page to find additional resources such as an estimated refund calculator, free tax prep finder, and more.

We hope you will take advantage of the tools presented here. And as always, if you ever have any questions, comments, or ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Download toolkit assets (9 mb)

Sample Letter To Parents

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We know that sending your kids back to school comes with all kinds of added costs. That’s why we wanted to make sure you’re aware of the California Earned Income Tax Credit (Cal EITC), which could help you pay for clothes and school supplies.

The Cal EITC is a cash back tax refund that makes your work pay better. If you worked last year, received cash, a 1099 or W-2 tax form, and you made less than $25,000, you may be eligible to receive hundreds or even thousands of dollars back by filing an income tax return. Even better, if you qualify for the Cal EITC, you will likely also qualify for the federal EITC, which could be thousands of dollars more!

Even though the April 15 federal filing deadline has past, it’s not too late to file your taxes and claim an EITC refund. If you’ve already filed your taxes, but didn’t receive the EITC — or are unsure whether you did or not — it’s easy to file an amendment and claim the EITC. If you haven’t filed your taxes this year because you weren’t required to, you can still file to claim the EITC at anytime.

Go to CalEITC4Me.org to find out how!


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