EITC Facts

CalEITC4Me has been busy — here are some highlights!

  • In 2019, we helped to increase the number of households claiming the California Earned Income Tax Credit by 40% to over 1.9 million households;
  • That means over $4 billion of state and federal EITC back in the pockets of working families;
  • Self-employed workers — a rising force in our economy — were eligible for the first time in 2018 and over 500,000 of them claimed the credit. That’s nearly 30% of all Cal EITC recipients; 
  • 96% of Cal EITC claims are from workers who are not required to file taxes — thus their participation in this proven program is entirely dependent on effective outreach.

In 2018, CalEITC4Me’s surround-sound outreach campaign:

  • Sent over 1.8 million text messages to over 1.3 million targeted workers in both English and Spanish;
  • Reached people in their communities via distribution of over 1.8 million pieces of collateral in 7 languages: Spanish, English, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, and Russian;
  • Partnered with 200+ organizations, such as the United Way, training them on our texting program and providing them with multi-language materials;
  • Promoted our user friendly website and its estimated EITC refund calculator and free tax prep finder tool via social media outreach, including reaching 1.1 million people reached via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, search ads, and video content;
  • Our campaign is statewide and we doubled-down with on-the-ground trusted community organizers in the counties with the most Cal EITC eligible workers. In Los Angeles County, we helped increase the number of households claiming the Cal EITC by 35% from 416,000 in 2018 to 560,000 this year;
  • Participated in over 300 events to reach people in their schools and communities

Why the EITC is so important:

  • The EITC is one of the most effective tools in America to lift families out of poverty;
  • This year, the Cal EITC put $360 million directly into the hands of 1.9 million working Californians;
  • The Federal EITC delivers over $7 billion to low-income Californians every year;
  • Research shows that children whose families receive an EITC income boost perform better in school and have better health;
  • The EITC enjoys wide bipartisan support for encouraging work and continued employment;
  • Families use their EITC refund to buy cars, computers, clothes, put food on the table food, pay bills, and cover basic needs for them or their kids;
  • Former Gov. Jerry Brown described the Cal EITC as one of his most important achievements. His successor, Gov. Gavin Newsom, more than doubled the program in 2019, saying there is “no greater anti-poverty measure than the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

Why EITC Outreach and Education Matters:

  • Every year California leaves $2 Billion in unclaimed EITC money on the table;
  • Research suggests outreach around state-level EITCs increases uptake of the federal EITC;
  • About one-third of the EITC eligible population turns over each year;
  • Workers move into and out of eligibility based on changes in their marital, parental and financial status;
  • Three out of five who receive the credit use it temporarily, for just one or two years;
  • You must claim the credit to receive it. Over 50,000 eligible workers filed California taxes in 2017 and failed to claim the credit;
  • Many people who qualify for the credit and are eligible for, in some cases, more than $6,000, don’t claim that money because they make below the income threshold that would require them to file a tax return.