2020 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Payments

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Action Memo


  • Notices which explain the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and provides ways to receive free tax counseling are being mailed to customers.
  • Encourage customers who were employed in 2020 to apply for the EITC benefit when filing federal and state income taxes.
  • Ensure that customers are made aware that there may be a delay in their refund this year. If the customer qualifies for the EITC and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit, the Internal Revenue Service cannot issue the refund before February 15, 2021.


Customers who were employed in 2020 may be able to decrease the amount of tax they owe and receive a refund by applying for the EITC when filing federal and state income taxes.

The Tax Season Is Here (pdf), Free Tax Help (pdf), and Plan Ahead (pdf) notices will be mailed to cash, medical and SNAP households in January 2021.

The notices remind customers of their possible eligibility for an EITC, how to apply for an EITC, and how they can receive free tax counseling and tax preparation services.

Customer Action

Customers who were employed in 2020 may receive the federal EITC benefit by filing for it with their federal tax return. Customers must file a federal income tax return to receive the EITC. Customers can claim the EITC even if they do not owe federal income taxes.

A person who did not apply for an EITC benefit for any of the last 3 years in which he or she worked may be eligible to receive retroactive EITC for any or all of those years by filing amended returns.

The state income tax form asks for the amount of the federal EITC a family is eligible to receive. Illinois residents who claim the federal EITC may also get a state EITC that can be worth up to $1,199.00.

Family Community Resource Center Action

The IRS provides EITC brochures and posters to the Family Community Resource Centers (FCRCs) each year in late January or early February.  Provide the brochures to customers as appropriate. Use current supplies until the new ones arrive.

In every face-to-face meeting or telephone contact with customers who had any earned income in 2020, ask if they filed for an EITC. If they did not, encourage them to do so.

Exempt EITC portion of the tax refund payments for all programs, both as income and as an asset (resource) where applicable.

Refund Delay

If a customer qualifies for the EITC and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit, by law the IRS cannot issue a refund before February 15, 2021.

Free Tax Counseling and Preparation

Free community-based tax counseling and preparation is available to all low-income families earning up to $57,000 and individuals earning up to $30,000 per year in the Chicago and Springfield areas.This year free tax preparation services are going virtual. All sites will offer by appointment only, drop-off service. Tax preparation will be completed virtually with a follow up appointment or virtual meeting to review completed returns. Inform customers of this when appropriate.

[signed copy on file]

Grace B. Hou

Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services

Forms Referenced:

DHS 4039

DHS 4406

DHS 4407