Let this EITC Awareness Day be the last when Oregon ranks dead last in participation

Chuck Sheketoff

This Friday, January 29, is Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day, a day the IRS uses to publicize this tax credit that helps low-income families make ends meet. It arrives not a day too soon here in Oregon, because we have a lot of work to do in terms of raising awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

As the Oregon Center for Public Policy has shown, Oregon ranks last in the nation in terms of the share of families qualifying for the EITC who actually claim the credit. As a result, working Oregonians leave an estimated $124 million of federal dollars in Washington.

Fortunately, some Oregon lawmakers have taken notice. Led by Representatives Alissa Keny-Guyer and Jeff Reardon, lawmakers are exploring what to do in the upcoming session to ensure more working Oregonians eligible for the EITC actually claim it. While it’s still unclear what the legislature will do, there seems to be bipartisan recognition that this is a problem that ought to be addressed.

One thing we know is that the legislature must identify a single state agency that will be held accountable for promoting the tax credit and will be given authority to direct an interagency effort. This just-released video put together by Tax Credits for Working Families for Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day is a good example the kind of outreach an Oregon department could do to promote the EITC among eligible Oregon families.

Let’s hope the Oregon legislature follows through with strong action next month, so that this is the last Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day when Oregon ranks last nationally in the use of this important tax credit.

Oregon Center for Public PolicyChuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at www.ocpp.org.

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