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Nearly 20% of Eligible CA Families Missing Out on Valuable Tax Credit

February 2, 2009

Too many Californians struggling to put food on the table are also leaving money on the table; almost 20 percent of eligible California families - tens of thousands of people - are failing to claim their federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It's a special federal program to supplement the earnings of low-income working individuals and families, and a campaign is underway to help them claim money that is rightfully theirs.

State Controller John Chiang says that for many people during these hard economic times, the tax credit can be a financial lifeline.

"Especially for those who have fallen on hard times, to get up to 4,000 dollars-plus back will help them pay for essential expenses such as rent, or food, or gas."

The EITC Campaign Partnership also encourages Californians with lower incomes to use Volunteer Income Tax Assistance centers set up throughout the state. These VITA sites offer free income tax preparation and e-filing to help families receive faster refunds.

Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas says EITC can put more money in the pockets of those who need it most.

"This is a big deal. So, we want to encourage everyone to take advantage of it; it’s your right to do so, and it could only mean more money in your pocket, particularly at this time of economic crisis."

Chiang and Ridley-Thomas are teaming up with the Children's Defense Fund-California and the Greater Los Angeles EITC Campaign Partnership to help get the word out.

More information about EITC and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Centers at is available at

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA