How to maximize your IRS refund with the EITC

Don't leave money on the table. Ask your VITA preparer if you qualify for this tax credit today!“Don’t leave money on the table” is great advice when you’re negotiating your salary — you should aim to get every dollar you possibly can.

It’s also great advice when you’re filing your taxes. Tax credits, particularly the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), maximize your IRS refund, returning to you more of the hard-earned dollars you paid in taxes last year. Yet one in five people typically fail to claim the credit.

The EITC is one of the nation’s most effective safety net programs, supplementing the earnings of millions of low-income workers every year. In 2013, the EITC lifted nearly 10 million adults and children out of poverty.

If your earnings are less than $55,952 from wages, running a business or farm, or from Form 1099 Misc, you may qualify. If you do, it could be worth an IRS refund of $6,557 this year – if you claim it. In 2019, 890,000 Pennsylvanians received $2 billion by claiming the EITC, with an average refund of $2,295.

One thing to note: If you claim the earned income tax credit (EITC) or the additional child tax credit (ACTC) on your tax return, by law the IRS can’t issue your refund before mid-February and you likely won’t receive it until early March. Find out more on when to expect your refund.


If filing: Qualifying Children Claimed
0 1 2 3+
Single, head of household, or widowed $15,570 $41,094 $46,703 $50,162
Married, filing jointly $21,370 $46,884 $52,493 $55,952
Your EITC IRS refund $2 – $529 $9 – $3,526 $10 – $5,828 $11 – $6,557

You worked and earned it. Now put the Earned Income Tax Credit to work for you.

How to get the EITC

orange arrowTo find out if you are eligible to receive the EITC, refer to the chart above and additional info at, or use the online EITC Assistant to estimate the amount of credit you are entitled to claim.

orange arrowYou can use the My Free Taxes website to file your taxes and claim the credit online. (You can use this site to file even if you don’t claim the EITC.)

orange arrowOr contact us and get free help preparing and filing your tax return. If your family received less than $55,000 in income in 2018 ($30,000 for a single person), you may be eligible for our IRS-certified free tax preparation service. We’ll see if you qualify for the EITC and maximize your tax refund – at no charge!



One Response to How to maximize your IRS refund with the EITC

  1. Avatar
    Chance Cook October 28, 2021 at 10:28 am #

    Thanks for letting me know that I can’t get my refund before mid-February. That helps me plan for my future. Now I know it’ll be a bit before I get help from my tax return.

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