Milwaukee County Residents At Risk of Leaving Millions on the Table this Tax Season

Milwaukee Metro area residents could miss out on more than $60 million in tax credits

Milwaukee: Today Citizen Action of Wisconsin held a news conference with Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, State Senator Chris Larson, and local mayors and state legislators to discuss up to $64,657,793 in available Earned Income and Child Tax Credits which could be left on the table by workers in Milwaukee County.

The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are the largest targeted anti-poverty programs in the country. Targeted to working families, the Earned Income Tax Credit is widely recognized as a powerful tool to encourage work, put money back in the pockets of working families to help them afford the basics, and stimulate local economic growth.

The Earned Income Tax Credit averaged $2,593 per applicant in Milwaukee County in 2013, and can mean as much as $6,269 per year to lower-income working parents. The Child Tax Credit means up to $1,000 per child in refundable tax credits. An estimated one out of five people eligible for these tax credits do not take advantage of them, leaving millions per year on the table.

Table: Eligible Residents and Total Tax Credits Left on the Table Per Year

Select Areas

Eligible Residents1

Average Earned Income Tax Credit Per Person2

Total Funds on at risk3

Milwaukee County

23,413 people


$64,657,793 per year

Waukesha County








West Allis
















Oak Creek




South Milwaukee












St. Francis







$230,552,177 per year

1-Estimate from 2013 Earned Income Tax Credit local county figures, Brookings Institute

2-Based on average individual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in 2013

3-Figured based on residents eligible for EITC and Child Tax Credit but haven’t claimed it.

 Also participating in the news conference were West Allis Mayor Dan Devine, State Rep. Daniel Riemer, State Rep. Mandela Barnes, Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy, Citizen Action Community Organizer Luz Sosa, and State Rep. Josh Zepnick.

“Our communities cannot thrive when workers hold lower-wage economy-busting jobs. When working families can afford the basics, they are able to spend money at local businesses, generating more jobs and more prosperity,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director at Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Promoting the Earned Income Tax Credit ensures that more tax dollars enter Milwaukee’s economy directly through local families spending money in local businesses on basic needs like food, clothing, and other necessities.” 

Available resources highlighted to help local resident file taxes included United Way’s Free Tax Tool and local free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites

Citizen Action of Wisconsin highlighted steps Milwaukee City and County could take to actively help residents claim the millions in federal tax credits.

  • The promotion of Earned Income Tax Credit flyers in bills and resident communication.
  • Addressing language barriers by including material in English and Spanish.
  • Promote existing tax-preparer sites and work with the 211 help line to educate residents.
  • Work with area employers to promote Earned Income Tax Credit material to employees.
  • Work with area libraries to promote Earned Income Tax Credit information with tax paperwork. 


Media Contacts

Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324

Kevin Kane (414) 550-8280,

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