With the books closing on another tax season, the IRS recently announced that the Earned Income Tax Credit – or EITC – pumped a record-breaking $489 million back into the local economy last year – and helped 206,105 Central Floridians in need.
The numbers, representing tax year 2009, are the strongest results yet since United Way began promoting EITC through our Prosperity Campaign of Central Florida, which helps families improve their financial stability.
Credited with lifting more children out of poverty than any other federal program, EITC offers federal tax credits of up to $5,666 that help low- to moderate-income families pay for rent, feed their children or cover any basic expense. In addition, many residents claim their full refunds for free by filing taxes at one of 30-plus local tax preparation sites that United Way also helps promote.
Multi-million Dollar Economic Infusion
As the local economy continues to lag, EITC’s multi-million dollar economic infusion also provides a significant boost to businesses in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, where refund dollars are spent on health care, home improvements, job training, car repairs, clothing and other goods and services.
Since 2008 when United Way first began promoting EITC, annual refund dollars have increased from $349 million to $489 million in our tri-county region. Last year alone, overall refunds showed a one-year increase of 15.9% and the number of residents claiming EITC rose by nearly 9%.
Only 1-in-4 Claim EITC
While we at United Way are pleased that EITC is making such a difference in our community, we know there’s still a long way to go. According to the IRS, only 1-in-4 eligible residents claim this valuable credit, mainly due to lack of awareness.
So if you’re one of the many local businesses and organizations that helped us promote EITC this year, we deeply appreciate your support. We also want to thank our Prosperity Campaign partners − Chase, The Walmart Foundation and Wachovia, A Wells Fargo Company − for supporting our commitment to help local families improve their financial strength and create a brighter future.