Earned Income Tax Credit Participation
What does this measure?
The proportion of people filing taxes who receive the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Why is this important?
The tax credit helps low-income individuals and families by reducing the taxes they pay or in some cases providing refunds. When the credit exceeds the amount of taxes owed, qualified filers receive a federal refund. The number of filers receiving the credit is one measure of the number of working poor people in a region, though not everyone who would qualify for the credit claims it. The infusion of cash to eligible households is also believed to help spur economic activity, prompting local efforts to ensure eligible families claim the credit to avoid leaving "cash on the table" that could benefit the whole community.
How is Ulster County performing?
In 2013, 16% of tax filers in Ulster County received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), nearly the same as the state (excluding NYC) rate (15%) but below the national rate (20%). Ulster's rate has consistently been 3 to 4 percentage points lower than the national rate, but the county has had a very similar rate to Orange and a slightly higher rate than Dutchess.
Notes about the data
People must claim the credit to receive it; therefore, these numbers do not reflect the number of people eligible for the credit. The IRS and other experts estimate that between 80 and 85 percent of those who are eligible for the credit claim it.