Although the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) represents important help to millions of working families, as many as one in five eligible taxpayers fail to claim it.

Tomorrow, January 24, Tax Credits for Working Families will join the National Community Tax Coalition and 18 other national policy and advocacy groups in hosting a Capitol Hill briefing to urge taxpayers to take advantage of this opportunity to reduce their tax bills and boost their financial security.

The briefing will take place on the eve of national EITC Awareness Day on Friday, January 25. The Internal Revenue Service annually designates a day to focus attention on the EITC, and has developed a wide array of resources for state and local organizations, policymakers and the media to help draw attention to the credit in their communities. These resources include print, radio and TV PSAs, video and audio files, and social networking materials. We encourage everyone to consider using these materials to draw taxpayer attention to the EITC.

This year’s EITC Awareness Day arrives just weeks after Congress approved a five-year extension of critical improvements in the EITC and several other tax credits benefiting working families. Yet the federal level is not the only place where policymakers make important policy decisions regarding the EITC. Half of the 50 states have also created their own EITCs, and because the size of these credits is usually calculated based on the federal credit, any reduction in the federal credit results in two separate tax increases on working families in many states.

This year, at least nine states’ EITCs face expirations or proposed cuts, and another 13 states may consider creating or improving their EITCs. State policymakers should preserve their credits, to shield taxpayers from higher tax bills at a time when wages are stagnating or even sliding backward for too many households. To bolster their well-being – and the nation’s economic recovery – existing state EITCs should be strengthened, and new ones created.

Tomorrow’s panel presentation will include remarks by TCWF’s Debbie Stein, an EITC recipient, a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance service provider, and Roxy Caines of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The event will be held on Thursday, January 24, from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. Please RSVP to jthall@tax-coalition.org.