Ten Years of the EITC Movement

Making Work Pay Then and Now

By the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings

April 1, 2011

Summary

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is meant to encourage work, reduce poverty, and boost local economic activity by offsetting payroll taxes for low- and moderate-income workers raising children. It is predicated on work, and obtained through filing a tax return. Out of its prevalence and its success, the EITC has spawned an array of social, business, and political activity. There is a national network devoted to promoting the existence of the credit, a large business sector (commercial tax preparers) and a burgeoning nonprofit industry (community tax programs) each closely tied to it. This brief describes this collective activity, labeling it the “EITC Movement,” reflecting on what it has achieved and the growing challenges facing the movement. 

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

The importance of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

The three basic motivations for the EITC Movement are: (1) ensuring that eligible households know about and claim the EITC, (2) helping claimants avoid costly transaction fees and other expenses, and (3) using tax credit-influenced refunds as an opportunity for asset development. 

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations