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The Tax Foundation is the nation’s leading independent tax policy nonprofit. Since 1937, our principled research, insightful analysis, and engaged experts have informed smarter tax policy at the federal, state, and global levels. For over 80 years, our goal has remained the same: to improve lives through tax policies that lead to greater economic growth and opportunity.
The earned income tax credit (EITC) is a targeted subsidy for low-income working families. It was enacted in 1975 as a temporary credit to help low-income workers with children.
The value of the EITC is a fixed percentage of a household’s earned income until the credit reaches its maximum. The EITC stays at its maximum value as a household’s earned income continues to increase, until earnings reach a phaseout threshold, above which the credit falls by a fixed percentage for each additional dollar of income over the phaseout threshold. The EITC is a fully refundable credit.