Earned Income Tax Credit Usage in Metro Atlanta

Blog post by Mike Carnathan
September 2015

(Inactive) Atlanta Regional Commission   (Atlanta)

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit program created in 1975 to shield lower-income workers from rising payroll taxes. (See Alan Berube, here) Taxpayers are eligible for EITC if they are working and have low-to-moderate income. The value depends on income and the number of children in the family. Here is a link to more information about EITC eligibility requirements.

The lower-income areas in the southern parts of the region have greater percentages of returns eligible for EITC. In total, metro Atlanta received about $1.5 billion from the EITC program in 2013. The map above shows how EITC disbursements are distributed by Zip Code within the 20-county Atlanta region. Zip Code 30349 in south Fulton (Union City) had the highest number of EITC returns in the region, for a totalĀ  of almost $39 million in tax credits. A Clarkston Zip Code (30021) had the highest percentage of returns receiving EITC in 2013, at 55.4 percent.

Zooming out and looking at the metro level, we analyzed EITC data for the 25 metros with the most tax returns filed. As the chart below shows, on a per filer basis, metro Atlanta ranks first among these large metro areas in the average credit received among EITC filers. In 2013, the average credit received in metro Atlanta was $2,668, up $158 from 2011, which is also the highest dollar increase among these 25 metro areas.