The Earned Income Tax Credit provision in the federal tax code is usually used by families with children. However, even if you have no children to claim as dependents on your taxes, you may still be eligible to receive this credit, netting you money from the federal government.
Earned Income Tax Credit
Established by Congress in 1975, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) was designed to help low-income families and workers. A tax formula is used to determine eligibility, and when that formula's result exceeds the amount of taxes owed, then a credit is triggered, resulting in a refund. This credit can be received even when a taxpayer did not earn enough money to pay taxes. (see Reference 1)
No Children EITC
According to the IRS, “Workers with low income who do not have a child may be able to claim Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Childless workers with low income are believed to be the largest group of taxpayers who do not claim the credit.” (see Reference 2)
Workers between ages 25 and 65 may qualify for an EITC. Check the EITC assistant tool (link provided in the Resource section) to determine your eligibility.
The IRS says that you must have a Social Security number, earned income, that you must file jointly if married, your investment income must be $3,100 or less, and other restrictions apply, including your residency. Use the EITC assistant tool to determine eligibility. File for the credit per IRS instructions.
Tips and Warnings
According to the IRS, billions of dollars in old tax refunds are waiting to be claimed each year including taxpayers eligible to receive their EITC. (see Reference 3) There is no penalty to file a late return to claim a refund, therefore review your tax records over the past few years to see if you have one or more EITC credits due to you. Consult with a tax professional if you believe that this credit has been missed previously, or if you believe that you are eligible for the most recent tax year ended.
Charles Green is a freelance writer in North Carolina who has been writing since 1992 and freelancing since 2002. His work appears in "435 South Magazine," "Wisconsin Golfer" and for various websites. Green earned a Bacheler of Science in business administration from Ramapo College of New Jersey.