News Release 2021-15 | January 29, 2021

OCC Promotes Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day

WASHINGTON—In an effort to make more eligible working families aware of the benefits of the earned income tax credit (EITC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is promoting the 15th annual EITC Awareness Day on January 29.

"We continue to encourage more eligible Americans to take advantage of EITCs," Acting Comptroller of the Currency Blake Paulson said today. "Given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are encouraged to seek assistance to see if they qualify for EITCs. The credit may provide needed funds for working American families."

The OCC encourages national banks and federal savings associations to work in their communities to educate the public about and to promote the EITC and free tax assistance programs.

Created in 1975, the Earned Income Tax Credit Program is the federal government's largest program for helping working Americans. The EITC is a refundable federal income tax credit for low- to moderate-income workers intended to offset the burden of social security taxes. When the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, the result is a refund to eligible taxpayers who claim and qualify for the credit.

In 2020, about 25 million eligible taxpayers received $62 billion in EITCs. For the 2019 tax year, the average amount received was about $2,461. The tax credit can mean up to a $6,660 refund when a 2020 tax year return is filed if a taxpayer has qualifying children. Workers without a qualifying child could be eligible for a credit up to $538.

One-third of the EITC population changes each year. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that four out of five workers claim the EITCs they earned, which leaves billions of dollars each year in unclaimed credits.

In addition to promoting EITC awareness, the OCC encourages banks and savings associations to

  • promote and provide low-cost bank products and services that enable tax refund recipients to deposit their income tax refunds directly into their accounts.
  • encourage the use of tax refunds in bank-sponsored savings match programs, also known as individual development accounts.
  • sponsor IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs in branches and support employees who volunteer as tax preparers in low- and moderate-income communities.

The OCC's District Community Affairs Officers are available nationwide to provide information about the EITC and other initiatives to national banks and federal savings associations. The OCC also provides resources on the EITC on its website at http://www.occ.gov.

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Stephanie Collins
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