You may qualify for the earned income tax credit (EITC) if you worked last year but did not earn a lot of money.
EITC is a refundable tax credit, meaning you could qualify for a tax refund even if you did not have federal income tax withheld.
To qualify for the credit your adjusted gross income (AGI) must be below a certain amount and you must:
- Have a valid Social Security number (if you are filing a joint return, your spouse also must have a valid Social Security number)
- Have earned income from employment or from self-employment
- Have a filing status other than married filing separately
- Be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year, or a nonresident alien married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien and filing a joint return
- Not be a qualifying child of another person (if you are filing a joint return, your spouse also cannot be a qualifying child of another person)
- Not have investment income over a certain amount
- Not file Form 2555 (PDF) or Form 2555-EZ (PDF) (related to foreign earned income), and
- Have a qualifying child who meets four tests (the age, relationship,
residency and joint return tests) or, if you do
not have a qualifying child, you must:
- be age 25 but under 65 at the end of the year
- live in the United States for more than half the year, and
- not qualify as a dependent of another person
If you qualify, the amount of your EITC will depend on your filing status, whether you have children, the number of children you have, and the amount of your wages and income last year.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: January 16, 2015