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Fact Sheet: 13 Million Fathers Benefit From Tax Credits for Lower-Income Working Families

May 4, 2015

Two working-family tax credits — the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) — have proven to be powerful tools for reducing children’s poverty and advancing their long-term well-being.[1]  About 13 million fathers in low- and moderate-income working families received either the EITC or the low-income portion of the CTC in 2012.  (For data on how the credits help mothers, see “21 Million Mothers Benefit from Tax Credits for Lower-Income Working Families.”)

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) figures show that over 26 million Americans claimed the EITC, including about 20 million filers with children.  A mostly overlapping group of 19 million parents claimed the low-income (that is, refundable) CTC.  We estimate that about 2 million single fathers and 11 million couples that include a father[2] received one or both credits.  Our estimates are based on IRS data, additional state tax information from the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, and national-level Census data on the gender of tax credit recipients.

The table shows the figures for fathers (married or single) by state.  In most states, more than 150,000 fathers received one or both credits.  Even the least populous states, such as Vermont and Wyoming, over 18,000 fathers received this help.

Table 1:
Fathers With EITC or Refundable Child Tax Credit,
Fiscal Year 2012
50 States + DC 12,999,000
Alabama 250,000
Alaska 23,000
Arizona 324,000
Arkansas 147,000
California 1,894,000
Colorado 177,000
Connecticut 93,000
Delaware 32,000
Dist. of Columbia 15,000
Florida 900,000
Georgia 494,000
Hawaii 50,000
Idaho 87,000
Illinois 520,000
Indiana 243,000
Iowa 93,000
Kansas 108,000
Kentucky 180,000
Louisiana 186,000
Maine 44,000
Maryland 181,000
Massachusetts 154,000
Michigan 362,000
Minnesota 148,000
Mississippi 152,000
Missouri 211,000
Montana 38,000
Nebraska 67,000
Nevada 131,000
New Hampshire 31,000
New Jersey 275,000
New Mexico 102,000
New York 722,000
North Carolina 447,000
North Dakota 16,000
Ohio 405,000
Oklahoma 162,000
Oregon 156,000
Pennsylvania 383,000
Rhode Island 31,000
South Carolina 195,000
South Dakota 30,000
Tennessee 326,000
Texas 1,393,000
Utah 147,000
Vermont 18,000
Virginia 265,000
Washington 248,000
West Virginia 72,000
Wisconsin 178,000
Wyoming 18,000
Source:  CBPP estimates based on data from IRS, unpublished data from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and CBPP analysis of the Census Bureau’s March 2010-March2014 Current Population Survey.

End Notes

[1] Chuck Marr et al., “EITC and Child Tax Credit Promote Work, Reduce Poverty, and Support Children’s Development, Research Finds,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, revised April 3, 2015, http://www.cbpp.org/research/eitc-and-child-tax-credit-promote-work-reduce-poverty-and-support-childrens-development.

[2] These figures treat same-sex married couples as unmarried for tax purposes because the Census Bureau’s 2013 tax model, which these calculations rely on, had not yet incorporated recent Supreme Court and IRS rulings allowing legally married same-sex couples to file together.