Who Are the Ineligible EITC Recipients?

Jeffrey B. Liebman, Harvard University
Jeffrey H. Cohen, Ohio State University
Publication Date:
Jan 2000
Published In:
Project Programs:
Future of Work

The IRS estimates that more than 20 percent of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) payments are made in error. By matching the Current Population Survey (CPS) to tax return data, this paper finds that a large portion of the overpayments went to families with children. Depending on the exact measure used, only 11 to 13 percent of EITC recipients lacked children in their household at the time they received the EITC. While some of these erroneous payments to households with children are received by households with incomes above EITC eligibility levels, many of these ineligible families with children are likely to be quite similar to eligible EITC families.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


The Russell Sage Foundation offers grants and positions in our Visiting Scholars program for research.


Join our mailing list for email updates.