Earned Income Tax Credit

Doing your taxes is not fun and not cheap, for most people. There is a better way and it is free to qualifying families from a variety of tax assistance programs. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit that provides a tax break for low to moderate-income workers and families with employment income. EITC was established by federal law in 1975 and is administered by the Department of the Treasury.

The EITC table below for Tax Year 2022 shows the maximum credit you can receive, based on income level and family size.

Number of Children ClaimedSingle/Head of Household or Widowed, Income Must be Less ThanMarried Filing Jointly, Income Must be Less ThanMaximum Federal Credit
3 or more$53,057$59,187$6,935

Tax Assistance Programs

Free assistance to prepare and file your federal income tax return is available from a number of organizations and programs. You can choose which one is best suited for you. They include:

United Way offers several choices. Visit MyFreeTaxes.com for details on the 2022 tax year programs. Regular operations will begin in late January, 2023.

You can do your own taxes online with an IRS Free File provider. If your household’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $73,000 or less, you may qualify for their Guided Tax Preparation Service. A Free File Fillable Forms service is an option for household’s with an AGI above $73,000. To obtain free tax preparation services you must start searching for a tax provider at the Free File link, https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile. If you go to a for-profiit company’s website first, you may be charged a fee. You decide which software company to choose.

GetYourRefund.org is a nonprofit organization that connects you with an IRS certified tax preparer from the VITA program for free. It specializes in taxpayers who have several years of taxes to file, have not filed taxes before, or have a lot of questions their tax return and want personal support. It will reopen January 31.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $60,000 or less. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide also provides in-person and virtual tax assistance. Visit the IRS VITA/TCE Locator Tool to find a local site near you. Most sites do not open until late January, some requiring appointments, some offering in-person visits. Call ahead.

Residents of South Jersey, including Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May and Cumberland Counties, as well as residents of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, can get tax preparation help from the non-profit Campaign for Working Families.

Other resources & outreach

Agencies and organizations interested in promoting EITC are encouraged to visit the links below. Low and moderate-income workers can choose from these resources to learn more.

  • Get It Back Campaign, sponsored by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • NJ EITC Marketing Toolkit
  • IRS2Go, is the free and official mobile app of the IRS. You can track if your return has been received, your tax refund status, or when a refund was sent. Also known as Where’s My Refund? available for free in your favorite app store.
  • EITC Central has tools and information for IRS partners, community organizations, employers, government agencies and offices and tax preparers.
  • EITC Assistant is an online tool to estimate if an individual or family may qualify by answering a number of questions.
  • IRS Publication 596, Earned Income Credit
  • Join EITC Awareness Day – January 27, 2023

A few facts worth considering…

  • About 27 million eligible tax-filers received $64 billion in EITC in 2019, according to the Congressional Research Service
  • Unfortunately, one in five households are not claiming EITC, leaving about $10 billion on the table
  • Tax assistance programs, such as VITA, can save you up to $300 when you file for free
  • Filing electronically is the safest fastest, and most accurate way to file your tax return

Last updated: January 18, 2023

Copyright © 2023 by Michael R. Swayze


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