All About EITC and Filing For FREE

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Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), is a refundable tax credit signed in to legislation in 1975 to help alleviate some of the burden of social security taxes and provide incentives to work for low to moderate income individuals. EITC has shown to be the most successful federal program in lifting working families above the poverty line. A common myth is that those who do not work are collecting EITC. In fact, to qualify for EITC you must have earned income from employment, self-employment or another source and meet certain rules. Common forms of earned income are wages, salaries, tips, and other taxable employee pay, union strike benefits, and net earnings from self-employment. While interest and dividends, retirement income, social security, unemployment benefits, alimony are taxable income, they are not considered earned income. Child support is not reported on individual income tax returns. IRS does not consider child support as income to the person who receives it nor a deduction for the person who pays it.

Who Qualifies for the EITC?
Workers who are:

  • Working full-time, part-time or self-employed
  • Receiving public benefits
  • Single or married
  • Raising a “qualifying child”
  • Some workers without a “qualifying child” who are between the ages of 25- 64 may be able to claim the EITC


Several EITC calculators and tools are available to help determine eligibility.

How Much Can Workers Earn and Qualify for the EITC for Tax Year 2013?
(Investment income cannot exceed $3,300)

How Do You Claim the Credit?

  • You must file a tax return!
  • Eligible workers can claim EITC and CTC refunds for up to 3 previous years.

Filing for Free

  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) provides FREE tax filing help for low-to-moderate income workers with household incomes of $52,000 or less.
    • Available in communities across the country
    • Volunteers are trained under IRS guidance
    • Taxpayers can receive their refund in 7-12 days through e-filing

For VITA locations in metro Atlanta, visit the United Way website or call 211 or 404-614-1000. If outside of metro Atlanta, please visit the IRS website to locate a site near you. For information on Free File from Home, visit the IRS website and click on Free File Quick Links.