In this brief, Authors Beth Mattingly and Elizabeth Kneebone use Internal Revenue Service tax filing data to show that the share of tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) increased between 2007 and 2010, as did the size of the average credit claimed and the number of EITC filers benefitting from the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit (the Additional Child Tax Credit, or ACTC). They report that one in five federal income tax filers claimed the EITC in tax year 2010, which represents a 4 percentage point increase since 2007, when just over one in six filers claimed the credit. Though the share of filers claiming the EITC varies widely across the country, EITC receipt rose across and within every state following the Great Recession.

Using its comprehensive supplemental poverty measure, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that these expanded credits kept millions of children and families out of poverty and lowered the poverty rate by 2.8 percentage points overall, and by 6.3 percentage points for children in 2011. Should these expansions be allowed to expire at the end of 2012, eligibility and benefit levels will decline for these families, diminishing the impact of these credits, even as many continue to struggle with the aftereffects of the recession.

Publication Date



National Issue Brief No. 57


Durham, N.H. : Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2012. The Carsey Institute. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.