University of Missouri Extension received a grant of $1.35 million dollars to bring awareness to the federal earned income tax credit – known as EITC.
The grant was provided by the U.S. department of Health and Human Services for a three-year project. MU Extension has offices throughout the state and they plan to use some of those offices, in specific areas, to work with community leaders and raise awareness about EITC.
EITC works like a refundable tax credit. When a person is done filing their taxes, they can receive EITC as a tax return. In a lot of cases, the amount in the return can have a significant impact on people’s lives.
Extension Instructor Marco Pantoja is working on the project and said he’s seen how EITC benefits can help people in many different ways.
“It can help quite significantly,” Pantoja said. “Some people might use it to, maybe, pay off debts. Or to get caught up on bills. It can be really helpful because it can be quite a significant amount of money.”
MU Extension plans to use the funds to raise awareness about the program and observe the impact of an EITC tax break on children in lower income families throughout the next three years.
One in five families who are eligible for EITC do not receive its benefits and Pantoja hopes that the program, assisted by the grant money, will be able to provide conclusive information about the benefits of EITC.