Let's Celebrate Tax Day with EITC Data

Happy tax day, everybody! Depending on your current tax filing status, today's tax filing deadline may fill you with relief or panic. While I'm fortunate enough to have already filed, tax day also reminds me of interesting data from the Brookings Institution about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is one of the largest and most effective wage support programs for low- and moderate-income families.

Perhaps the most well-known tax credit, the EITC supplements the earnings of working people by reducing their tax burdens, and if the EITC is greater than the amount of taxes owed, the taxpayer receives a refund. For more information on research about the EITC, see this research brief that Prosperity Now created in 2010.

The data from the Brookings Institution is fascinating and extensive, especially for organizations who are interested in providing voluntary income tax assistance (VITA) sites for their city. With a few clicks, the data can help answer questions such as:

  • The percentage of total returns receiving the EITC
  • The average EITC dollar amount claimed
  • The percentage of Refund Anticipation Loans and Checks requested

For a list of all data in the database, see here.

Because the data drills down to geographies as granular as the zip code- and city-level, interested users can see data for their city and benchmark that against similar locales. Brookings also provides an interactive map for folks to visualize the data. And while the data is only as recent as 2008, it is recent enough to still provide some important baseline information about the EITC claims in your city.

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