Millions of dollars in Earned Income Tax Credits go unclaimed each year

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a benefit for working people with low to moderate incomes.

OLYMPIA, WA – Many people are eligible for a tax benefit that often goes unclaimed. Twenty percent of those eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) either do not claim the benefit on their taxes or do not file a tax return at all. The credit reduces the amount of taxes owed and results in a lump sum refund payment for most people who are eligible to claim it.

You must file a tax return to get your credit even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file.

Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed Jan. 29 “Earned Income Tax Credit Day in Washington State” as part of a nationwide effort to increase awareness of the underused tax credit and how to apply for it.

“By raising awareness and providing information about free tax preparation sites around the state, we’re helping families and individuals, and giving a boost to our economy,” Inslee said.

Last year 440,000 people in Washington applied for the credit, claiming close to $955 million in refunds and generating about $1.43 billion for our state’s economy. Even so, an estimated $351 million in federal tax credits go unclaimed in Washington.

“Individuals can receive a tax refund of up to $6,242 if they meet eligibility requirements,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Department of Commerce. “Since 1975, The Earned Income Tax Credit has made a tremendous difference for working families and provided a direct boost for communities throughout the state. I encourage everyone to learn more and see if you qualify.”

The Department of Commerce and Department of Social and Health Services are partnering with other agencies and organizations across the state to raise awareness about the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Free tax preparation services are available to many low- and moderate-income families. Just dial 2-1-1 and ask for “free tax preparation locations” or search “free tax prep” at

On Jan. 29, communities throughout Washington are taking part in national EITC Day to promote the tax credit.


Local Contacts

Walla Walla Asset Building Coalition (Walla Walla and Columbia counties), Steve Dickerson, 509.540.1247
Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council (Chelan and Douglas counties), Linda Limbeck, 509.662.6156ext. 238
Kitsap Community Resources (Kitsap County), Kristi Basse, 360.473.2126 & Cathy Brorson, 360.662.2153
Lower Columbia Community Action Programs (Cowlitz County), Liz Myntti, 360.425.3430, ext. 215
Opportunity Council (Whatcom County), Lisa Sohni 360.724.5121 ext. 224
Pierce County Asset Building Coalition, Amy Allison, 253.426.1516
Community Action of Skagit County, Lynn Christofersen, 360.588-5748
Spokane County United Way, Andrey Muzychenko, 509.324.5030
United Way of King County, Jenny Walden, 206.461.5048
United Way of Mason County, Allison Maluchnik, 360.401.9808
United Way of Snohomish County, Jacqui Campbell,  425.374.5501
Thurston County Asset Building Coalition, Mindie Reule, 360.529.5281
United Way of Yakima County, Paula Slaye, 509.966.5163
Klickitat County ABC, Brian Wanless, 509.250.0737
OIC of WA: the Prosperity Center (Grant and Adams Counties), Carolyn Grant, 509.765.9206, ext. 239
Community Housing Resource Center (Clark County), Charlene Dahlen, 360.690.4496, ext. 100


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