Tax Credits

Congress and the administration need to ensure that our tax policies help the most vulnerable Americans. Refundable tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit (EITC) and child tax credit (CTC), help to prevent millions of Americans from falling into or deeper into poverty. 

In 2015, Congress passed a tax deal that made permanent improvements to the EITC and CTC. With this deal, 16 million people — including 8 million children — will not fall into poverty. This is the most significant anti-poverty policy Congress has passed in the past 20 years. 

The EITC significantly benefits low-income workers with children. However, low-income childless workers — that is, adults without children and non-custodial parents — receive little or nothing from the EITC. As a result, childless workers are the sole group that the federal tax system taxes deeper into poverty. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in 2012, federal income and payroll taxes pushed 1.2 million childless workers into poverty and another 5.8 million deeper into poverty.

This situation is especially hard for younger low-income workers. Currently, all childless workers under age 25 are ineligible for the EITC, so low-income young people entering the workforce — who have disturbingly low labor-force participation rates — receive none of the EITC’s proven benefits, such as promoting work, alleviating poverty, and supplementing low wages.   

Supporting policies such as lowering the eligibility age to 21 and raising the maximum credit for EITC, we could lift at least half a million people out of poverty and prevent at least 10 million more from falling deeper into poverty. 

"Jesus said ...
'You give them something to eat.'"

Matthew 14:16

Tools
from our Resource Library

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  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

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For Advocacy

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    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Fact Sheet: Hunger by the Numbers

    In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

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