Partner with employers/businesses
Educate employers about the availability and value of these tax credits. Tax credits provide money to workers at no cost to employers. The extra money can help employees pay for child care, housing, and other basic needs, leading to a more stable workforce.
Teach a brown bag seminar on the EIC and/or Homestead credit at a local workplace. Provide enough information to help employees determine if they are eligible. Bring along extra tax forms and instructions. Let employees know where they can get one-on-one help with their taxes. Explain the advantages of the advance EIC, and provide guidelines to help employees determine if this option makes sense for them.
Assist employers in sponsoring a free tax assistance clinic for employees. Local VITA volunteers can assist with this.
Provide employers with outreach materials such as fact sheets, envelope stuffers, and posters. Suggest ways these could be used. Employers can include fact sheets on earned income and Homestead credits in benefit packets for new employees. They can include information as envelope stuffers, when sending paychecks or tax information. Fact sheets can be posted at worksites.
Offer to write short articles on the earned income and Homestead credits for company newsletters.
Make presentations to local business organizations encouraging their involvement in outreach efforts.
Partner with local school
Offer to teach a short session on the EIC and Homestead credit at PTA meetings or other school functions during tax season. Be sure to let parents know where they can get help in claiming the credits.
Educate school administrators and teachers about the availability and value of these tax credits. Tax credits provide extra money to parents, helping to stabilize families.
Provide schools with outreach materials such as fact sheets, envelope stuffers, and posters. Schools can include information on earned income and Homestead credits with other school notices. They can include articles in school newsletters.
Offer to write short articles on the earned income and Homestead credits for school newsletters.
Encourage schools to sponsor a free tax assistance clinic for parents. Title I schools, as well as schools with large numbers of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals, are good candidates. Local VITA volunteers can assist with this.
Partner with local agencies serving low income
Publicize the tax credits at homeless shelters, by posting flyers or providing in-person information. Researchers estimate that up to 40% of homeless persons have some earnings during the month, and many more have earned income sometime during the year. A tax refund can provide a deposit needed to secure housing. A permanent address is not necessary to claim the credit. Encourage homeless individuals and families to claim the EIC and Homestead credit by educating staff at shelters, teaching informational sessions to clients, providing tax forms, and/or arranging for tax assistance from a VITA volunteer.
Publicize tax credits at food pantries and other emergency feeding sites. A recent survey by UW-Extension found that 44% of food pantry clients in Wisconsin have a worker in their household. Many others are recently unemployed. A tax credit can provide extra money for food. Encourage pantries to share information with clients by distributing information and/or arranging for free on-site tax assistance.
Collaborate with your county W-2 agency. Offer to conduct EIC workshops for W-2 clients. Provide W-2 agencies with EIC and Homestead credit information to provide to clients. Many W-2 participants are new to the workforce and do not have prior experience with the EIC. Because the EIC is integral to the success of welfare reform, W-2 participants are an important target group for EIC outreach efforts.
Conduct informational workshops with area service providers who come in contact with low-income families. Increasing awareness among providers is a great way to ensure that low-income families have access to the information. The IRS can sometimes provide representatives to co-teach EIC workshops. Contact the IRS Taxpayer Education Office, (414) 297-3717.
Encourage government assistance programs to provide information on the EIC and Homestead credit to recipients, past recipients, and applicants. For instance, EIC information can be included with Unemployment Compensation checks, food stamp mailings, WIC vouchers, and child support checks.
Offer educational sessions for clients of organizations serving low-income families. Possibilities include Head Start programs, community health centers, Consumer Credit Counseling programs, child care centers, etc.
Encourage organizations serving low-income clients to sponsor a VITA site. The more convenient and accessible VITA sites are, the more likely clients will be to use them. VITA sites are key to ensuring that families claim their tax credits.
*Many of these ideas are suggested by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, A Guide to Earned Income Credit Outreach Strategies. This is an excellent resource with extensive information and ideas.
This website is an educational resource only. For specific tax questions, seek professional tax assistance or contact the IRS hotline at 1-800-tax-1040.
Last modified on 1/4/2018