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. Those who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund. You don't need to have a child to claim EITC. Also, there are special rules for individuals receiving disability benefits and members of the military.

Generally, income and family size determine eligibility and the EITC amount you can receive. The maximum amount of the credit for Tax Year 2018 is $6,431. During 2017, 25 million received about $63 billion in EITC and the average amount of EITC credit was about $2,488. 1

More in-depth information about EITC and the eligibility requirements see the EITC Home page.


More About EITC
  • 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. 



Basic Qualifications
Free File

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



State and Local Government Programs

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

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