Overview of EITC

Enacted by Congress in 1975, the Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC is a federal income tax credit for workers who don't earn a high income and who meet certain eligibility requirements. Taxpayers who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund. Individuals do not need to have children to claim EITC. Also, there are special rules for individuals receiving disability benefits and members of the military.

Generally, income and family size determine a taxpayer's eligibility and the EITC amount a taxpayer can receive. The maximum amount of the credit for Tax Year 2014 is $6,143.1 Almost 28 million received over $66 billion in EITC for tax year 2013.2 The average amount of EITC credited for tax year 2013 was $2,407. 3

More in-depth information about EITC and the eligibility requirements see IRS Publication 596, Earned Income Credit; Publication 596, Spanish version, the EITC Assistant or the EITC Home page all located on http://www.irs.gov/.


More About EITC

Information on:

  • EITC is one of the largest antipoverty programs
  • Basic EITC eligibility requirements
  • Income Thresholds and Range of EITC
  • Who are we missing?



Tax Help

EITC eligible individuals can seek help from a paid tax return preparer or from a volunteer tax return preparation site. 


Information on Basic Qualifications:


Free File

EITC eligible workers who prepare their own tax returns will generally be eligible for using Free File to prepare and electronically file. 


Advance EITC or AEITC

The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act of 2010 signed into law August 10, 2010 repealed the Advance EITC. It is not available to workers after December 31, 2010. Workers who received advance payments of EITC in their paychecks during 2010 are required to file a tax return to report the payments even if they owe no tax or receive no refund.


State and Local Government Programs

Some state and local governments have an EITC program to supplement the federal credit.

1Source: Revenue Procedure 2013-35

2Source: Calendar Year Report,  December 2014

3Source: Calendar Year Report, July 2014.



Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 04-Feb-2015