Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Earned Income Credit (EIC)

​The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is providing temporary relief for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for tax year 2020. If your federal earned income was higher in 2019 than in 2020, you can use the 2019 amount to figure your federal EITC for 2020. This temporary relief is provided through the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020. You will make this decision with your federal return and the Illinois Earned Income Credit is simply calculated as 18 percent of your current year federal EITC. To figure your Illinois EITC amount, follow the instructions on Schedule IL-E/EIC.  For more information on figuring your federal credit, see Internal Revenue Service Publication 596, Earned Income Credit on the IRS website.

What is Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC/EIC)?

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC/EIC) is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income that reduces the amount of tax owed and may result in a refund. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file.

For tax years that began on or after January 1, 2018, the Illinois EITC/EIC is 18 percent of your federal EITC/EIC.

Do I qualify for the Illinois EITC/EIC?

In general, if you qualified for a federal Earned Income Tax Credit, you also qualify for the Illinois EITC/EIC.

Federally, you qualify for EITC/EIC if:

For more information on qualifying for the federal EITC/EIC, go to the IRS website.

How do I claim the Illinois EITC/EIC?

You can only get the EITC/EIC if you qualify for it on your federal income tax return.

To claim the EITC/EIC on your 2020 IL-1040, Illinois Individual Income Tax Return, you must complete Schedule IL-E/EIC and enter the total from Line 8 on your IL-1040, Line 28. For more guidance see the instructions for the Schedule IL-E/EIC.

How do I claim the Illinois EITC/EIC for prior years?

If you filed Form IL-1040 for a prior year, and received the federal EITC/EIC credit, but did not claim the Illinois EITC/EIC credit for that year, you may file IL-1040-X, Amended Illinois Income Tax Return, to claim it. Also, include Schedule IL-E/EIC.

Note: Unless you were required to file US Form 1040-X and received a refund of the Earned Income Credit, you may only receive a refund of your Illinois Earned Income Credit if you file a return claiming the credit within three years of the extended due date of the return (generally October 15th).

I received a letter from the Illinois Department of Revenue about EITC/EIC, what should I do?

We send letters about EITC/EIC that may:

  • Ask you to send information to verify your federal EITC/EIC claim,
  • Ask you to send additional information to confirm your claim,
  • Ask you to send information to verify your business income and expenses,
  • Provide important information about your claim, or
  • Ask you to provide additional information such as:
    • your city-, state-, or county-issued professional license, registration, or certification (if required for your occupation)
    • sales, business, or withholding tax registration forms
    • your federal return
    • your federal Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ
    • your federal Form 8867 (if you used a paid preparer to file your return)
    • documents you used to calculate your business income and expenses (ledger, spreadsheet, journal, sales slips, receipts, etc.)

Please do not attach this information to your originally-filed Form IL-1040, Individual Income Tax Return, unless it is requested in the instructions. If necessary, we will send you a letter requesting additional documents in order to verify your EITC/EIC.

Respond to the address listed on the letter with all of the information requested. 

What are some common errors in claiming the EITC/EIC?

Errors can delay your refund or result in the Illinois Department of Revenue denying your EITC/EIC claim. Avoid the following common errors:

  • Claiming a child who does not meet the qualifying tests for age, relationship and residency.
  • Social Security number or last name mismatches.
  • Filing as single or head of household when married.
  • Over or under reporting of income or expenses.
  • Entering the incorrect amount of federal EITC/EIC credit.