Enacted in 2008, the state of Washington has created their own version of a federal tax benefit in an effort to reduce poverty among working families. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) seeks to put more money back into the hands of earners, and encourage families to continue to work despite lower wages. Modeled after the federal credit, the state EITC allows taxpayers who claimed the federal credit to also be eligible for the state credit.
Though often subject to budget restrictions, when funded, Washington’s credit will be worth 10% of the federal credit (increased from 5% for the 2010 tax year) or $50, whichever amount is greater. When implemented, the credit is fully refundable, which means a taxpayer can receive any amount in excess of their tax liability. Families with zero tax liability can receive the whole credit amount as a refund, which can then be used to offset other significant state or local taxes.
By making the credit refundable, Washington has connected to the core of the poverty reduction aspect of the EITC. The credit gives the taxpayer the opportunity to use more of their own money to help them rise above poverty, which is why the credit has proven effective on both state and federal levels.