Updated for the 2018 tax year
What is the Wisconsin Earned Income Credit?
The Wisconsin Earned Income Credit, like the federal EIC, is a special tax benefit for workers who earn low or moderate incomes. It lowers their taxes, supplements their wages, and makes work more attractive and affordable. Families with children who qualify for the federal EIC are automatically eligible for the Wisconsin EIC. Qualifying persons who file federal returns get back some or all of the federal income tax withheld from their pay during the year. Like the federal EIC, the Wisconson EIC is refundable. This means that even workers whose earnings were too small to have taxes withheld can get the EIC.
Who can get the Wisconsin EIC?
The EIC is available to workers with low to moderate incomes. The income limit depends on the number of qualifying children and on whether the tax filer is married or unmarried.
- the limit for families with one child is $41,094 ($46,884 if married);
- the limit for families with two children is $45,802 ($52,493 if married);
- and the limit for families with three or more children is $50,162 ($55,952 if married)
How much can individuals and families get back from the EIC?
The Wisconsin EIC is calculated as a percent of the federal EIC.
- For workers with one qualifying child, the state EIC equals 4% of the federal EIC. Thus, the maximum amount of the credit is $138.
- For workers with two qualifying children, the state EIC equals 11% of the federal EIC. Thus, the maximum amount of the credit is $628.
- For workers with three or more children, the state EIC equals 34% of the federal EIC. Thus, the maximum amount of the credit is $2,187.
Will getting the EIC affect eligibility for welfare benefits?
The EIC — and other tax credits — do not count as income in determining eligibility for benefits such as W-2, Medicaid, Food Stamps, SSI, or public or subsidized housing.
Overview Claiming the Wisconsin EIC
What is the procedure for claiming the Wisconsin EIC?
- Claimants must file a Wisconsin tax return to receive the state EIC, even if no taxes are owed;
- File state Form 1.
- The amount of the claimant’s federal EIC is needed to calculate the state EIC. For filers with one qualifying child, the state EIC is 4% of the federal EIC; for filers with two qualifying children, the state EIC is 11% of the federal EIC; for filers with three or more children, the state EIC is 34% of the federal EIC;
- If your tax return shows you owe taxes, you subtract your EIC credit and you will owe less or get money back. If you owe no taxes, but qualify for the EIC, you will get a refund check for your EIC amount.
- You can file state tax returns on-line, at no cost, through the Department of Revenue website
Is the Wisconsin EIC available in advance?
The state EIC is not available in advance.
Can a worker get the Wisconsin EIC for prior years, if she/he was eligible but didn’t claim it?
Yes, the Wisconsin EIC can be claimed for past years with an amended tax return.
Where can workers get help filing for the Wisconsin EIC?
Please note that the links to tax preparation information are to external websites that may not yet be updated; read those sites carefully to be sure the information is current.
- The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free tax assistance in counties throughout Wisconsin. Follow this link for information on VITA site locations and hours.
- Taxpayer Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) provides free tax assistance for the elderly, as well as for persons eligible for the federal and state Earned Income Credit or the Homestead Credit. Information is also available by phone from the AARP at 1-888-227-7669.
Further information on the EIC
Eligibility is the same as for the federal EIC.
Download tax forms and publications
- Form 1 (Form 1 Instructions)
- Form 1NPR (Form 1NPR Instructions)
These forms are also available as on-line fill-able pdf forms at the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website
This website is an educational resource only. For specific tax questions, seek professional tax assistance or contact an IRS Technical Assistance Center or call the tax hotline at 800-829-1040.
Last modified on 1/11/2019