The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC or EIC, is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund.

When Can I Expect My Refund?

If you claim the earned income tax credit (EITC) or the additional child tax credit (ACTC) on your tax return, by law the IRS, can’t issue your refund before mid-February. Find out more on when to expect your refund.

After you file your return, the best way to track your refund is Where's My Refund? or the IRS2Go mobile app.

Who Qualifies

Do I Qualify for EITC?

To qualify for EITC you must have earned income from working for someone or from running or owning a business or farm and meet basic rules. And, you must either meet additional rules for workers without a qualifying child or have a child that meets all the qualifying child rules for you.

EITC Assistant

Use the EITC Assistant to see if you qualify for tax years: 2017, 2016, and 2015. The EITC Assistant helps you find out your filing status, if your child is a qualifying child, if you are eligible and estimate the amount of the EITC you may get.

Income Limits and Table

See the EITC Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates for the current year, previous years and the upcoming tax year.

Claiming EITC

How Do I Claim EITC?

You need to file a tax return to claim EITC. Find out:

  • the documents you need
  • the common errors to watch for
  • the consequences of filing an EITC return with an error
  • how to get help preparing your return
  • what you need to do if your EITC was denied in a previous year
  • how to claim the credit for earlier tax years

Received a Notice

I Received a Letter from IRS about EITC, What Should I Do?

We send letters about EITC that may:

  • suggest you claim EITC if you do qualify
  • ask you to send information to verify your EITC claim
  • provide important information about your claim

This letter/notice page lets you know what you need to do if you receive a letter or notice from us about EITC.


Specialized Resources

Visit EITC Central for tools and information specifically geared to IRS partners, community organizations, employers, government agencies and offices, and tax preparers.

Missing Children

The IRS is partnering with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to help search for missing children. For more information:

  • Visit the NCMEC website.
  • Call NCMEC at 1-800-843-5678


Other Refundable Credits

Keep More of What You Earn

The Earned Income Tax Credit helps low- to moderate-income workers and families get a tax break.

See if you qualify

EITC and Refundable Credit Central

Tools and resources for IRS partners, community organizations, employers, government agencies and offices, and tax preparers.

Get Refundable Credit resources