Young People and Tax Credits: The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit

This brief looks at the challenges and opportunities for young people ages 14 to 24 to access the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. It also covers ways these tax credits are intended to meet the needs of young people and how effectively they are met. The brief is drawn from a scan of the literature and discussions with safety net and youth policy experts and youth-serving practitioners. Discussion also notes the role that structural racism plays in the eligibility for and access to these tax credits.

The brief also presents a set of action steps for policy recommendations to strengthen the safety net through an intentional and comprehensive approach to supporting young people in meeting their basic needs. Discussion of the tax credits includes action steps for making the tax credit amounts more equitable across different age groups and student statuses. Tax credit discussion also includes action steps for filers who are or are not parents. In addition, the action steps consider reducing the complexity of documentation required to prove eligibility for credits and targeting tax credit outreach efforts and tax preparation assistance campaigns to young workers. These action steps on targeting could build on the IRS’s annual EITC awareness day effort.

Record Type: 
Research-To-Practice Brief
Publication Date: 
February, 2021
February 2021
Partner Resources
  • Asset Building
    • Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Supportive Services
    • Child Care
  • Special Populations
    • Youth in Transition