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Other EITC Issues

Question: If both parents want to claim the earned income credit, but were never married, who is entitled to claim the credit?

Answer:

If they otherwise meet all of the requirements to claim the earned income tax credit (EITC), unmarried parents with a qualifying child may choose which one will claim the credit.

  • If there are two qualifying children, each parent may claim the credit based on one of the children.
  • One parent may claim the credit based on both children.
  • If both parents claim the child as a qualifying child for the EITC, the IRS will apply rules and treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent with whom the child lives for the longer period of time in the tax year. If the child lives with each parent for the same amount of time, the IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent who has the higher adjusted gross income (AGI) for the tax year.
  • If no parent can claim the child as a qualifying child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who has the highest AGI for the tax year.
  • If a parent can claim the child as a qualifying child but no parent does so claim the child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who has the highest AGI, but only if that person's AGI is higher than the AGI of any of the child's parents.

Additional Information:


Category: Earned Income Tax Credit
Subcategory: Other EITC Issues

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The OMB number for this study is 1545-1432.
If you have any comments regarding this study, please write to:
IRS, Tax Products Coordinating Committee
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