Establishing Countywide Outreach Strategies to Alleviate Poverty

The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can be an effective tool to help fight poverty, yet approximately 20 percent of eligible Los Angeles County households are not claiming this credit. To close the participation gap, the L.A. County Department of Business and Consumer Affairs is looking to work with relevant county departments that serve clients in the EITC eligibility range, such as Public Health and Public Social Services, to increase awareness. To move this work forward, FUSE Executive Fellow Nicole Richardson developed a strategy that integrates outreach, provision, and opportunities for do-it-yourself filing into county services across departments. As a result, departments and partner organizations are already making it easier for clients to claim refundable tax credits and benefits. Initially, Nicole engaged more than 30 organizations — county departments, nonprofits, funders, research entities, and others — to better understand the EITC space. Based on her analysis, she developed a strategy that simultaneously supports opportunities for partner organizations to employ improved solutions while making the credits easier to claim, helping ensure that more eligible residents successfully receive their tax benefits.

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