By the Numbers: The Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify for EITC, you must have earned income from working for someone or from running or owning a business or farm. You must either meet additional rules for workers without a qualifying child or have a child who meets all of the qualifying child rules for you. The credit is invaluable for working families and lifts five million households with children above the poverty line every year.  

For years, the credit has been a target of Congressional Republicans, who have instructed the IRS to crack down on improper claims of the credit to the extent that claiming the credit is now one of the best ways to get flagged for a tax audit.


The percentage of reduction in IRS enforcement staff since 2011


The percentage reduction in audit rates for those making $10 million or more since 2011


The percentage of all audits that are Earned Income Tax Credit recipients


Times more likely a person claiming the EITC is to be audited as someone making $200,000 to $500,000 per year


The average Earned Income Tax Credit


Percent of those eligible for the EITC who don’t claim it


Pages of instructions for claiming the EITC


The household income of the average recipient of the EITC


Number of IRS auditors today


The last time the IRS had fewer than 10,000 agents


Median household income of Humphreys County, Mississippi


Median household income of Loudoun County, Virginia, the richest in America. Humphreys is audited at a 51 percent higher rate than Loudoun.

Source: ProPublica