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Significant Tax Benefit: EITC

Millions of taxpayers who earned $53,267 or less last year may qualify for EITC for the first time in 2016, making awareness critical.

“One-third of the population eligible for EITC changes each year as their personal circumstances change,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We want workers who may qualify for EITC for the first time to have all the information they need to get the EITC and get it right. This is an important credit for hard-working Americans, and one of the government’s best tools to fight poverty.”

Last year, more than 27.5 million eligible workers and families received almost $66.7 billion in EITC; with an average EITC amount of more than $2,400.

Workers, self-employed people and farmers who earned $53,267 or less last year could receive larger refunds if they qualify for the EITC. Eligible families with three or more qualifying children could get a maximum credit of up to $6,242. EITC for people without children could mean up to $503 added to their tax refund. Unlike most deductions and credits, the EITC is refundable. In other words, those eligible may get a refund from the IRS even if they owe no tax.

Taxpayers should be sure they have valid Social Security numbers in hand for themselves, as well as each qualifying child, before they file their return. Moreover, to get the EITC on a 2015 return, they must get these SSNs before the tax-filing deadline (April 18, 2016, for most people or Oct. 17, 2016, for those who get extensions).

Workers potentially eligible to claim the credit should visit IRS.gov/eitc to learn if they qualify and how to claim the credit. The IRS recommends that all workers who earned around $54,000 or less use the EITC Assistant to determine their filing status, if they have a qualifying child or children, if they qualify to receive the EITC and estimate the amount of the EITC they could get. If an individual doesn’t qualify for EITC, the Assistant explains why. A summary of the results can be printed and kept with the worker’s tax papers.