WASHINGTON − The Internal Revenue Service and its partners nationwide remind taxpayers about the Earned Income Tax Credit on Jan. 31, which is EITC Awareness Day. This is the 14th year of the EITC awareness campaign that alerts millions of workers to this significant tax credit.
“The EITC is a vital tax credit that helps millions of hard-working working families around the nation,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “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 partner groups across the country for sharing this critical information with taxpayers.”
There are outreach events and activities scheduled to promote EITC awareness around the country. The EITC is the federal government’s largest refundable federal income tax credit for low- to moderate-income workers. It can give taxpayers a refund even if they owe no tax.
The IRS estimates four of five eligible taxpayers claim and get the EITC. Nationwide in 2019, 25 million taxpayers received over $61 billion in EITC. The average EITC amount received was $2,504. The EITC is as much as $6,557 for a family with children or up to $529 for taxpayers who do not have a qualifying child.
Taxpayers earning $55,952 or less can see if they qualify using the EITC Assistant tool at IRS.gov/eitc. The EITC Assistant, available in English and Spanish, helps users determine if they are eligible and if they have a qualifying child or children, and it estimates the amount of the EITC they may get. If an individual doesn’t qualify for the EITC, the Assistant explains why.
How to claim the EITC
To get the EITC, workers must file a tax return and claim the credit, even if their earnings were below the filing requirement. Free tax preparation help is available online and through volunteer organizations.
Those eligible for the EITC have these options:
• Free File on IRS.gov. Free brand-name tax software is available that leads taxpayers through a question and answer format to help prepare the tax return and claim credits and deductions, if they are eligible. Free File also provides online versions of IRS paper forms, an option called Free File Fillable Forms, best suited for taxpayers comfortable preparing their own returns.
• Free tax preparation sites. EITC-eligible workers can seek free tax preparation at thousands of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites. To locate the nearest site, use the search tool on IRS.gov, the IRS2Go smartphone application, or call toll-free 800-906-9887. They should be sure to bring along all required documents and information.
• Find a trusted tax professional. The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can prepare their tax return and provide helpful information and advice. Tips for choosing a return preparer and details about national tax professional groups are available on IRS.gov. EITC recipients should be careful not to be duped by an unscrupulous return preparer.
The IRS reminds taxpayers to be sure they have valid Social Security numbers (SSN) for themselves, their spouse, if filing a joint return, and for each qualifying child claimed for the EITC. The SSNs must be issued before the due date of the return, including extensions. There are special rules for those in the military or those out of the country.