Each filing season, Brookings and a number of other research organizations receive queries from people working in the field, wanting to know more about EITC participation in their communities. Unfortunately, researchers face constraints in their ability to provide accurate estimates on many EITC participation-related questions. Briefly, the major obstacles are: some people who claim the EITC aren't technically eligible for it; we can't know how many eligible families there are at a local level; and eligible people who claim the credit differ from eligible people who don't. This note offers a couple of ideas on how people can make use of data to measure and explain the opportunities for local EITC outreach programs. It then explains each of these obstacles in a little more detail.
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