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Earned Income Tax Credit Rules for Everyone

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To qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC, you, and your spouse if married and filing a joint return, must meet all of the following rules:

  1. Have a Social Security Number that is valid for employment
  2. Have earned income from working for someone, running or owning a business or farm or another source
  3. Cannot file as married filing separate 
  4. Must be:
    •  a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year or
    •  a nonresident alien married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien, file a joint return and choose to be treated as a resident alien (for more information on making this choice, see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens)
  5. Cannot be the qualifying child of another person
  6. Cannot file Form 2555 or 2555-EZ (related to foreign earned income)
  7. Your Adjusted Gross Income and earned income must meet the limits shown on the Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates Page
  8. Your investment income must meet or be less than the amount listed on the Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates Page


After you meet the EITC rules for everyone, you must either meet the rules for workers without a qualifying child or have a child that meets the qualifying child rules.

Interactive EITC Assistant

Find out if you are eligible for the EITC by answering a few questions and providing basic income information using the IRS's online EITC Assistant. It also helps you determine if your child meets the rules for a qualifying child and estimates the amount of your credit.  Find the English EITC Assistant here or o haga click aquí para seleccionar la Versión en Español del Asistente.


Special EITC Rules

There are special EITC rules for members of the military, ministers, members of the clergy and those receiving disability benefits. Find out more about the special EITC rules.



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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 05-Feb-2014