About EITC

Why EITC is Important?

The EITC, earned income tax credit is the federal government’s largest benefit for workers. For people who have earned income from working for someone or running a business or farm, it’s money that positively impacts change in their life, family and community.

We know four out of five eligible taxpayers receive their EITC. This means millions of taxpayers are putting EITC dollars to work for them. But missing that one in five means millions of people are not taking advantage of this valuable credit they earned. Almost a third of those who qualify for EITC qualify for the first time this year due to changes in their marital, parental or financial status. Outreach every year is so important.

EITC is one of the Largest Antipoverty Programs

  • Nationwide during 2018, 25 million eligible workers and families received about $63 billion in EITC.1 


  • Approximately four of five people eligible for the EITC claim it.2


  • EITC and the child tax credit (CTC), greatly reduce poverty for working families. These working family credits lifted an estimated 9.4 million people out of poverty, including 5 million or more than half of them children.3  

  • The cost of administering the EITC program ratio to claims paid is less than one percent.4


1Source: Calendar Half Year Report, June 2018. Historically, half year data represents over 95 percent of EITC returns.

2 Source: The national EITC participation rate is 78% (TY2015), estimated in cooperation with the Census Bureau. A major break-through in the study of EITC Participation Rate was accomplished with the estimation of state level participation rates based on the American Community Survey (ACS). While the ACS data does not allow for as precise a determination of EITC eligibility as the Current Population Survey (CPS) data, the state estimates allow interested parties to observe differences in state level taxpayer participation rates. The official estimate is the CPS national estimate of 78% (TY2015), with the ACS estimates as supplementary source of information.

3Source: Chuck Marr, Chye-Ching Huang, Arloc Sherman and Brandon DeBot, CBPP-EITC and Child Tax Credit Promote Work, Reduce Poverty, and support children’s Development, Research finds, October 1, 2015

4Source:  EITC administration cost ratio: proportion of EITC executed budget January, 2009

Basic EITC Eligibility Requirements

Determining eligibility for EITC is complicated. You must make over 20 separate determinations. This tool kit presents the basic qualifiers.  Refer to the EITC Home Page on irs.gov IRS for more detailed information on who qualifies for EITC.

EITC Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts, and Tax Law Updates

Income and family size determine the amount of the EITC. The income amounts and the amount of EITC are adjusted for inflation each year. 


Who are we missing?

We estimate that four out of five workers claim the EITC they earned. Help IRS reach the potentially qualifying workers who miss out on thousands of dollars every year on EITC.  Help us educate them about the credit and motivate them to join the four out of five who file and claim it.  This includes workers who are: 

  • living in rural areas,
  • self-employed,
  • receiving certain disability pensions or have children with disabilities,  
  • without a qualifying child,
  • not proficient in English,
  • grandparents raising their grandchildren, or
  • recently divorced, unemployed, or experienced other changes to their marital, financial or parental status 

 More about EITC