Put the Earned Income Tax Credit to Work for You
You could be eligible to get more money back from the IRS-as much as $6,000.
If you earned less than $51,000 from wages, self-employment or farming last year, you may qualify for a refundable tax credit called the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. But you must file a federal income tax return claiming the credit to get it. It’s even more valuable if your state also offers an EITC tax credit.
EITC can be a boost for working people, their families and communities. The Earned Income Tax Credit has continued to help improve the lives of workers for over 38 years. Yet each year many eligible workers go without claiming the credit, possibly because of changes to their financial, marital and parental statuses. Workers experiencing these changes may qualify for EITC for the first time.
IRS estimates four of five eligible workers claim and get EITC, however rural and non-traditional families — such as grandparents raising grandchildren — childless workers, and non-English speaking taxpayers are among those who most frequently overlook the credit.
Unlike other tax credits, both EITC eligibility and the amount of tax credit you are eligible for is based on several factors. These include, the amount of your income, or combined incomes if married, whether you have qualifying children and how many. Workers without children also may qualify for EITC.
The credit is complex, but worth exploring. You may qualify for EITC even if you had no federal tax withheld and would not otherwise be required to file. However, you must file and claim the credit to get it. The online EITC Assistant at www.irs.gov/eitc can help you determine your eligibility and estimate the amount of your credit you are entitled to claim.
The IRS offers several free options to claim EITC, such as FreeFile and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. FreeFile allows you to prepare and e-file your own tax return. Free help preparing EITC tax returns is also available at many volunteer income tax assistance sites. Locate a volunteer site near you on IRS.GOV and selecting the VITA Locator tool or call the IRS at 1-800-906-9887.
Take the credit you’ve earned. Learn more about EITC. Visit www.irs.gov/eitc, or get details in your tax software package.