Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Learn about Massachusetts Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and see if you qualify. The tax year 2021 EITC credit amounts are listed for if you file single, head of household, or married filing jointly. Federal, Part-year Resident and Nonresident EITC information is also included.

Updated: February 1, 2022

Table of Contents

Overview and Eligibility

The EITC is a credit for people with low or moderate earned income. The EITC may reduce your tax bill and give you a refund. Find out if you qualify.

The Massachusetts EITC is available to certain individuals or families who meet the tax requirements for the federal EITC.

To claim the Massachusetts EITC, you must file a tax return and be a Massachusetts resident for at least part of the taxable year. You can find nearby free help at a VITA site or through AARP Tax-Aide.
 

You may be eligible for the Massachusetts EITC if:
 
  • You had a qualifying child during the taxable year, or
  • You did not have a qualifying child during the taxable year and you meet the following criteria
    • You lived in the United States for more than one-half of the taxable year;
    • You or your spouse had attained age 25 but had not attained age 65 before the close of the taxable year*; and
    • You were not a dependent of another taxpayer during the tax year.

      *Please note that for the 2021 tax year only, you may claim the EITC without a qualifying child if you are at least 24 years old if you are a student, 18 years old if you are a qualified former foster youth or qualified homeless youth, or 19 for other taxpayers.  For the 2021 tax year only, the EITC also does not have an upper age limit and individuals who are older than 65 years old before the close of the taxable year can claim it.
To be eligible for the EITC, you must also meet the following additional criteria:
 
  • You, your spouse and any qualifying child have a valid Social Security Number (if your qualifying child does not have a social security number, you and your spouse may qualify for the EITC that is available for taxpayers without qualifying children);
  • You have earned income (for tax year 2021 you can elect to use your 2019 earned income to figure your 2021 EITC if your 2019 earned income is more than your 2021 earned income);
  • Your adjusted gross income is within certain limits; and
  • Your filing status is:
    • Single, head of household, or married filing a joint return; or
    • Married filing separate, and you have a qualifying child who lived with you for more than half of the tax year, and either of the following apply (1) you lived apart from your spouse for the last 6 months of the tax year, or (2) you are legally separated according to your state law under a written separation agreement or a decree of separate maintenance and you didn't live in the same household as your spouse at the end of the tax year; or
    • Married filing separate and you are the victim of domestic abuse, and all of the following apply: (1) you are living apart from your spouse at the time you file your tax return; (2) you are unable to file a joint return because you are a victim of domestic abuse, and (3) you indicate this on the return. See Form1 Instructions to line 43.
You are not eligible for the Massachusetts EITC if:
 
  • You did not file a Massachusetts return for the tax year;
  • You were a nonresident for the entire taxable year;
  • Your status is married filing separately and you do not have a qualifying child or you are not a victim of domestic abuse (see above) or;
  • You and/or your spouse had investment income that exceeds the limit for the taxable year.

For Single/Head of Household or Qualifying Widow(ed), or Married Filing Separately*

To find the maximum Massachusetts EITC allowed, for Single/Head of Household or Qualifying Widow(ed), or Married Filing Separately*check the IRS Table below. The Massachusetts EITC is based on the federal EITC. For taxable years starting on or after January 1, 2019, the Massachusetts credit is equal to 30% of the federal credit.

IRS Table for the tax year 2021 for Single/Head of Household or Qualifying Widow(ed), or Married Filing Separately*:

Maximum Federal Adjusted Gross Income
Number of Qualifying Children
Maximum Federal EITC
MA Rate
Maximum MA Credit Allowed

$21,430

0

$1,502

30%

$451

$42,158

1

$3,618

30%

$1,085 

$47,915

2

$5,980

30%

$1,794 

$51,464

3 or more

$6,728

30%

$2,018 

*Taxpayers claiming the EITC who file Married Filing Separately must meet the eligibility requirements under the special rule in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 or qualify for the Massachusetts exception for victims of domestic abuse.

For Married Filing Jointly

To find the maximum Massachusetts EITC allowed for married filing jointly, check the IRS Table below. The Massachusetts EITC is based on the federal EITC.

IRS Table for the tax year 2021 for Married Filing Jointly:

Maximum Federal Adjusted Gross Income
Number of Qualifying Children
Maximum Federal EITC
MA Rate
Maximum MA Credit Allowed

$27,380

0

$1,502

30%

$451

$48,108

1

$3,618 

30%

$1,085 

$53,865

2

$5,980 

30%

$1,794 

$57,414

3 or more

$6,728 

30%

$2,018 

    Federal EITC

    If the IRS is computing your federal EITC, you should wait until the IRS gives you the credit amount before claiming the EITC on your Massachusetts return.

    If you haven’t received the federal EITC by the deadline for filing your Massachusetts return, an automatic 6-month extension will be granted as long as at least 80% of the total amount of tax due has been paid on or before the due date. If you expect a refund, you are automatically approved for a 6-month extension.

    You can file an amended return if:

    • The IRS computed your EITC, but you didn’t take the credit for your original Massachusetts return.
    • The IRS adjusted your federal EITC, and you need to change the EITC amount on your Massachusetts return.

    When filing an amended return, use Form 1: Massachusetts Resident Income Tax Return or Form 1-NR/PY: Massachusetts Nonresident or Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return. Be sure to fill in the Amended Return oval on your Massachusetts return.

    For Part-year Residents

    For part-year residents, the Massachusetts EITC is calculated differently.

    The amount of the Massachusetts EITC is limited to  30% of the federal EITC multiplied by the total number of days you resided in Massachusetts divided by 365 days.

    For Nonresidents

    Taxpayers who are nonresidents for the entire taxable year are not eligible for the Massachusetts EITC.

    Contact

    Phone

    Tax Department (617) 887-6367
    Toll-free in Massachusetts (800) 392-6089

    9 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday through Friday

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