The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is an important benefit for working people with low to moderate incomes, but you must file a federal tax return to get it, even if you owe no income tax.
OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce reminds anyone earning up to $55,952 that they may be eligible to receive the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). To take advantage of this benefit, you must file a federal income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) even if you owe no income tax or are not otherwise required to file a tax return. Last year the average EITC was $2,205.
Many people are eligible for this tax benefit, but it often goes unclaimed. The IRS estimates 20% of those eligible either do not claim the benefit on their taxes or do not file a tax return at all. Seniors, individuals with low incomes, and non-English speaking taxpayers account for much of the unclaimed credits because they don’t realize they are eligible. The credit reduces the amount of taxes owed and results in a lump sum refund payment for most people who are eligible to claim it.
Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed Jan. 31, 2020 as “Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day” in the state of Washington as part of a nationwide effort to spread the word about this under-used tax credit and provide information and resources to claim it. Read the Governor’s proclamation.
“Together, the Earned Income Tax Credit and low-income Child Tax Credit (CTC) are among the strongest tools available to help move families out of poverty and promote work,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “We want to make sure that all Washingtonians are aware of this opportunity, as one in five eligible taxpayers do not claim or receive the credit they are due.”
In 2019, 388,000 Washington residents applied for the credit, claiming $856 million in refunds. This year, individuals can receive a tax refund of up to $6,557 if they meet eligibility requirements.
“The earned income tax credit is a triple win for families, businesses, and communities,” said Lisa Brown, director of the Department of Commerce. “EITC dollars strengthen family finances and also strengthen communities when those dollars flow into the local economy.”
Free tax preparation, other resources available
The Department of Commerce and Department of Social and Health Services partner with many local agencies and nonprofit organizations across the state to raise awareness about the Earned Income Tax Credit and free tax preparation services.

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