Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman Garamendi Reminds Lower Income Californians to File for Earned Income Tax Credit

March 11, 2010
Press Release

Unclaimed EITCs Estimated to Cost California $1.2 Billion Annually in New Report

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) today urged all qualified low income Americans to file for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in their tax returns after the New America Foundation released a report showing that unclaimed EITCs cost California's economy and low-income residents $1.2 billion annually.

"Nearly a million low-income Californians fail to claim their earned income tax credits in their tax filings, needlessly robbing themselves of money that could go to rent, groceries, or other expenses," Congressman Garamendi said. "The average family qualified for the EITC receives a $1,400 refund, so If you qualify, the money is yours to keep; take it."

According to the New America Foundation policy paper "Left on the Table" by Antonio Avalos and Sean Alley:

  • In 2009, an estimated 2.4 million California residents will claim $4.95 billion in EITC refunds, spurring $5.5 billion in sales for California businesses, who in turn will create 33,000 jobs, pay $1.32 billion in new wages, and bring $390.5 million in tax revenue to state and local governments.
  • In 2009, an estimated 800,000 Californians, about one in five who are eligible, will fail to claim $1.2 billion in EITC refunds, costing their families an average $1,400 refund.
  • Because $1.2 billion in EITC refunds will go unclaimed in 2009, California businesses will lose out on $1.4 billion in sales and 8,200 jobs will not be created.

"Local businesses and state and local governments are hurting because less money is circulating in our economy from unclaimed earned income tax credits," Garamendi added. "By collecting your EITC, you don’t just help you and your family. When you buy local, you help grow our economy while creating jobs."

Among the four counties in Congressman Garamendi’s district:

  • 10.6% of Alameda County residents qualify for the EITC, with $29.1 million in unclaimed EITC payments, an average unclaimed credit of $1,259. Claimed EITCs bring in $116.4 million.
  • 8.4% of Contra Costa County residents qualify for the EITC, with $16.8 million in unclaimed EITC payments, an average unclaimed credit of $1,261. Claimed EITCs bring in $67.4 million.
  • 15.2% of Sacramento County residents qualify for the EITC, with $41.3 million in unclaimed EITC payments, an average unclaimed credit of $1,404. Claimed EITCs bring in $165.3 million.
  • 11.9% of Solano County residents qualify for EITC, with $9.3 million in unclaimed EITC payments, an average unclaimed credit of $1,321. Claimed EITCs bring in $37.2 million.