Goodwill Industries of Central Michigan’s Heartland, Inc., one of five Goodwill organizations selected to participate in national pilot promoting employee access to the Earned Income Tax Credit for 2020 taxes.
April 9, 2021: In coordination with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) Center for Education and Workforce and Goodwill Industries International, Goodwill Industries of Central Michigan’s Heartland, Inc. (GICMH) was one of five Goodwill organizations selected to participate in a national pilot promoting employee access to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for 2020 taxes. The project is envisioned to be operated by or in coordination with local Goodwill organizations’ human resources departments.
Twenty-eight states offer the additional EITC, which is a federal benefit for working people with low to moderate incomes. To qualify, working individuals must have earned income from employment and file a tax return, even if they don’t owe any tax or aren’t required to file. EITC reduces the amount of tax owed and may provide or increase a refund.
Designed to reward work, EITC in 2018 was credited with lifting 5.6 million people out of poverty, including three-million children, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The credit reduced the severity of poverty for another 16.5 million working adults and children.
The U.S. Chamber invites the selected Goodwill grantees to participate in its limited community-based pilot to help learn more about this approach for further evaluation. The pilot seeks to:
- Increase the percent of EITC-eligible workers who file taxes and claim EITC benefits.
- Reduce the time and cost of filing taxes and claiming EITC benefits.
- Reduce the error rate in claiming EITC benefits.
- Increase the percent who use their EITC benefits to improve their financial wellness, including reducing debt and increasing savings.
As of March 31, 2021, GICMH reached its goal of 50 employees completing their tax returns for the EITC. “Our employees claimed over $35,000 in EITC money,” said Jerry Mainstone, Vice President, Workforce Development and Community Relations.
To reach employees across the GICMH territory a “refund rodeo” was created to encourage employee participation. Financial coaches traveled to retail locations to promote and encourage employees to participate in our VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program.
GICMH’s financial coaches also provide money management, credit building, and debt reducing strategies to encourage saving your return or reducing debt to employees.