Imagine if there were a federal program with millions of dollars set-aside just for California’s working families, where each family could fill out one form and get up to $5,666 to help pay the bills. Imagine the real benefit this would have for California’s working families who are struggling to get by in this economy. Imagine the impact on California’s already overburdened social programs, if families could be less reliant on state programs. And imagine the stimulative impact on our local economies here in California if working families had up to $5,666 extra to spend every year.

Good news! This program exists and is called the Earned Income Tax Credit [EITC]. The EITC is a refundable tax credit for low to moderate-income working families. But every year millions of eligible families don’t get their refund, leaving billions in unclaimed tax money. According to the Government Accountability Office and the Internal Revenue Service between 15% and 25% of eligible households do not claim their Earned Income Tax Credit.

And the Earned Income Tax Credit is not the only program that Californians are failing to take full advantage of. Many other great resources are available to assist families in finding out what they are eligible for and helping them apply.  Here are just a few:

In California, a cool new web 2.0 website, WeConnect, is helping make sure that Californians don’t leave money on the table. And here in San Francisco, the Working Families Credit program helps “you claim tax credits, benefits and other services for low-income working families in our city.”

Now more than ever, it is important that California’s working families have access to as many available resources as possible. Check out the links here and share this article with your friends to make sure that all of California’s working families claim their Earned Income Tax Credit and get the most out of their tax refund.

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