Maximizing the Power of the EITC and CTC

Tiffany E. Browne

When thinking about long-term financial goals, planning throughout the year is essential. Year-round financial planning is a key factor when it comes to maintaining financial health, achieving financial goals, and being better positioned to handle the unexpected. For individuals and families that are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Child Tax Credit (CTC), claiming these tax credits and integrating them into a comprehensive financial plan can help to ensure that their benefits extend beyond tax season.

Here are five essential steps for EITC and CTC advocates to consider when connecting with their audiences about annual financial planning:

  1. Continue to Build on Foundational Messages

At present, 14 states have a state-level CTC, and 31 states and local legislative bodies have a state-level EITC. Policy and grassroots organizations championing the permanent expansion of the EITC and CTC have underscored the significance of these tax credits as powerful tools in combating poverty and promoting financial stability. These key values serve as the foundational message advocates can draw on to illustrate the connection to financial stability through sound financial planning. To be consistent and continue to build on the foundational message, EITC and CTC advocates must spotlight the benefits and eligibility criteria for these credits.

  1. Integrate EITC and CTC into Long-Term Financial Goals

Advocates can encourage individuals and families to allocate a portion of the funds received from claiming the EITC and the CTC into a savings account or consider investments. This is also an opportunity to emphasize how the EITC and CTC can support filers’ aspirations for education and career advancement. Encourage them to use these credits to invest in their future, whether it’s pursuing higher education, vocational training, or certifications. Share success stories of individuals who have leveraged these credits to boost their career prospects.

  1. Partner with Additional Organizations

Collaboration is key to expanding the reach of your message and offering more comprehensive support. Partner with local nonprofits, community organizations, and financial institutions to host workshops, webinars, and community outreach events. These partnerships can provide additional resources, expertise, and a wider audience for advocacy efforts.

  1. Host Workshops and Webinars

Organize workshops and webinars that cover elements of year-round financial planning including budgeting, debt management, and investment strategies. Integrating the EITC and CTC into these discussions will show participants how these credits can play a vital role in their financial journey. Ensure these events are accessible and inclusive, addressing the specific needs and concerns of the intended audience.

  1. Provide Community Outreach

Engage in community outreach efforts to connect with those who may not have easy access to digital resources. Distribute flyers, attend local events, and set up information booths to reach individuals in underserved communities. Offering in-person guidance can be especially effective in working through financial questions and concerns and helping people understand the importance of year-round financial planning and integrating the EITC and CTC into their fiscal goals.

Champions of these programs have the power to affect substantial change by enlightening their audience about the pivotal role tax credits play in year-round financial planning. Encouraging the incorporation of these credits into savings, investments, education, and career advancement becomes a cornerstone of achieving financial empowerment. Collaborating with organizations to provide a comprehensive approach amplifies the impact. Hosting workshops, webinars, and community outreach events enables advocates to effectively convey the importance of year-round financial planning, leading their audience toward a more secure financial future.