Tax time is coming…Do you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit?

Family at table discussing their taxes.

It’s Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day

Have you checked in with your financial professional to determine whether you qualify?

Just as the cold, short days of winter lean toward monotony, the mundane becomes celebratory with the arrival of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day.

The nascent January 31 annual holiday — 2021 marks just its 15th year — is designed to remind Americans of this significant but often overlooked tax credit, which provides workers with a tax credit equal to a percentage of their earnings (up to a limit that varies by year). It favors workers with children, who receive a larger credit than those without children. 

“The EITC is a vital tax credit that helps millions of hard-working families around the nation,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a lead-up to last year’s celebration. “It’s critical that people review the credit to see if they qualify. Increasing awareness about the EITC is important, and the IRS is proud to support the ongoing efforts by partnergroups across the country for sharing this critical information with taxpayers.” 

So what is the EITC? And should you be celebrating?

Since its beginning in 1975, the EITC was designed to provide refundable income tax credit to low- and moderate-income workers. It is available even if taxpayers owe no tax, assisting them by offsetting the impact of Social Security taxes while providing them with an incentive to work.

For those who qualify, the credit can be substantial. In 2019, 25 million taxpayers received an average $2,504 in EITC, for a collective $61 billion. Last year, the maximum EITC for those without qualifying children was $538; for those with three or more qualifying children, the credit was $6,660. 

To qualify for the EITC, you must have earned income and adjusted gross income within certain limits and meet other rules. The total amount is a reflection of your marital status and the number of children you have, if any.

To find current year income and adjusted gross income limits and maximum credit allowances, visit the IRS website. 

To obtain the EITC, you must file a tax return (it will not be distributed if you fail to file a return) and claim the credit, either by filing for free on, working with a tax professional, or seeking free tax preparation assistance (visit the IRS search tool to find the nearest location). 

The rules can be complex and they often change for filing for the EITC. If you are uncertain of how to proceed, consult a financial professional for assistance. 

Thanks for checking out the blog. Happy EITC Day!

Gregory Armstrong, CFP®


This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any 
individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive
outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal.   This material was prepared by LPL Financial.    Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and
broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). 
Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. To the extent you are receiving investment advice from a separately registered independent investment advisor that is not an LPL Financial affiliate, please note LPL Financial makes no representation with respect to such entity.

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