As a form of wage supplementation, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)—a federal tax credit—lifts low-income, working families out of poverty every year when tax returns are filed. According to the Piton Foundation, evidence shows that EITC “creates an incentive for people to leave welfare for work and for low-wage workers to increase their work hours.” Studies also show that the EITC has a positive impact on the education and health of children living in poverty, with improvement in low-income children’s achievement in middle childhood.1
Poverty is a root cause of hunger, which is why Hunger Free Colorado supports outreach for the EITC through a partnership with the Piton Foundation. In Colorado, the Piton Foundation leads an annual outreach campaign to spread the word about the EITC and other tax credits targeted to low- and mid-income taxpayers. In the 2012 tax season, Piton distributed nearly 1.5 million outreach materials, which let to tax refunds of $13.2 for working Coloradans; a big step towards economic stability for over 7,000 families.
Tax Help Colorado, a program of the foundation in partnership with the Colorado Community College System, provided free tax filing to lower-income Colorado families at 20 free tax sites across Colorado in 2012. Tax Help Colorado utilizes trained students to volunteer hours to assist taxpayers to file their taxes. Along with Piton, AARP sponsored about 50 tax preparation sites and the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program had about 85 sites in 2012.
No Kid Hungry Colorado, a partnership of Hunger Free Colorado, Share Our Strength and the Office of Governor John Hickenlooper, appreciates the work of the Piton Foundation to increase awareness of and access to the EITC as part of the Five Year Plan to end child hunger in Colorado. Goal ten of the Plan is to “Improve the economic security of working families;” the EITC does just that. Collaborating with stakeholders and organizations, such as Piton, is the only way for No Kid Hungry Colorado ensure Colorado children have access to nutritious food where they live, learn and play.
For more details and the locations of ALL free tax sites in Colorado, dial 2-1-1 (a free call), go to www.piton.org/eitc. Your organization can help distribute outreach materials, and you also can follow Tax Help Colorado on Facebook.
1 Duncan, Greg and Magnuson, Katherine. Early Childhood Poverty. Pathways, the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. Winter 2011.