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The County of Los Angeles Center for Financial Empowerment, part of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), along with CalEITC4Me, on Tuesday announced this week as Los Angeles County Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Week.

Los Angeles County CalEITC Awareness Week is a countywide effort to educate low and moderate income households about these valuable tax credits. In Los Angeles County, nearly $600 million in federal EITC is unclaimed each year by those who have earned cash-back refunds. In the first year of the state’s CalEITC program, 41 percent of eligible Los Angeles County filers did not claim the new state EITC.

DCBA’s Center for Financial Empowerment is also offering free tax preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for taxpayers making $54,000 or less. DCBA’s first VITA Tax Day is Saturday, Feb. 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the East Los Angeles Community Service Center at 133 N. Sunol Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90063.

“Claiming earned income tax credits can put thousands of new dollars in the pockets of low income women and men in the County and help them secure a more stable financial future for themselves and their families,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Every year, millions of dollars have gone unclaimed simply because County residents didn’t know about EITC or couldn’t get the help they needed to file the paperwork. This year will be different!”

“Tax season is here and there are many opportunities for our low-income communities. That’s why this week, we are helping our communities tap into the Earned Income Tax Credit fund,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “I am proud the County is taking proactive steps to ensure that those who qualify for this credit receive the financial relief they deserve. Hard work pays off and we are here to make sure our residents know that.”

The Center for Financial Empowerment is raising awareness of EITC in Los Angeles County with its EITC Collaborative partners, including Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department (HCIDLA), Citi Community Development, and Koreatown Youth + Community Center (KYCC).

“The County is making a serious effort to reduce poverty. Educating taxpayers and families about EITC is a small step that can provide a much needed boost,” said Brian J. Stiger, Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs.

For a schedule of additional VITA Tax Days across the County this tax season, visit DCBA’s website at www.dcba.lacounty.gov.

The County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors made the official declaration of Los Angeles County EITC Awareness Week during Tuesday’s Board meeting.

Since 1976, the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) has served consumers, businesses, and communities through education, advocacy, and complaint resolution. We work every day to educate consumers and small business owners about their rights and responsibilities, mediate disputes, investigate consumer fraud complaints, and enforce Los Angeles County’s minimum wage ordinance. For more information, visit www.dcba.lacounty.gov