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

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