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A growing number of families have received the earned income tax credit since its creation

Monday, July 9, 2012

The earned income tax credit (EITC) was enacted in 1975 to reduce the burden of Social Security taxes on low-income workers and to encourage them to seek employment rather than welfare benefits. The amount of the credit depends upon the number of qualifying children in the household and the level of earned and adjusted gross income. Originally, the credit was limited to a maximum of $400 per year for a qualifying household, but subsequent legislation expanded the basic credit and provided larger credits for families with two or more children. In 2008, the EITC provided an estimated $51.5 billion to nearly 25 million low-income workers and their families, for an average of $2,063 per recipient. Since rural households have historically had higher poverty rates than urban households, rural taxpayers benefit disproportionately from programs targeting low-income workers, such as the EITC. This chart appeared in "Rural America Benefits from Expanded Use of the Federal Tax Code for Income Support" in the June 2011 issue of ERS's Amber Waves magazine.

Geographic distribution of EITC to rural filers

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) allows a rebate to the taxpayer of any balance after the credit is applied against the tax owed to the IRS. The impact of the EITC on the rural poor is indicated in part by the geographic distribution and share of tax return filers receiving the credit. The percentage of rural taxpayers who received the EITC in 2007 was greatest in the South, where a large percentage of the Nation's rural poor has historically resided. The median rate of the EITC receipt for Southern States is 21.2 percent of rural households that filed a tax return. This compares with 13 percent of rural households in Northeastern States and 15 percent in the Midwest and the West. These differences reflect higher average income levels in rural areas outside of the South, particularly in the Northeast. This map appeared in the ERS bulletin, Federal Tax Policies and Low-Income Rural Households, EIB-76, May 2011.