Common Errors for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)


You are responsible for what’s on your tax return even when someone else prepares it for you. Understand the common errors you can make when you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on your tax return and what you need to do to avoid them.

If the EITC claim on your tax return has errors, one of the following may happen:

 For help, use our Qualification Assistant.

5 Common Errors You Need to Avoid

Your Child Doesn’t Qualify

Most errors happen because the child you claim doesn’t meet the qualification rules:

  • Relationship: Your child must be related to you.
  • Residency: Your child must live in the same home as you for more than half the tax year.
  • Age: Your child's age and student or disability status will affect if they qualify.
  • Joint return: Your child must not file a joint return with another person (for example, their spouse) to claim the EITC.

Related: Qualifying Children for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

More than One Person Claimed the Child

Make sure that the child you claim lived with you for more than half of the tax year.

Related: Qualifying Children for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Social Security Number or Last Name Don’t Match

Make sure you write the Social Security number and name exactly how it appears on the Social Security card for everyone you list on your return.

Related: Qualifying Children for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Married and Filed as Single or Head of Household

If you are married, you can't claim the EITC using the single filing status. You can’t claim the EITC using the head of household filing status if you are married, and you and your qualifying child lived with your spouse during the last six months of 2023. Make sure you use the correct filing status.

Related: Who Qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Over or Underreporting Your Income or Expenses

Make sure you include all your Forms W-2, W-2G, 1099-MISC, 1099-NEC and all other records of your income.

If your Forms  W-2, W-2G, 1099-MISC and 1099-NEC, do not match IRS records, you may be required to submit additional documentation such as

  • periodic pay statements ,
  • check stubs  or
  • a letter from your employer on company letterhead or stationery indicating the dates of employment, gross amount of wages paid and withholdings deducted.

You should also include records of your income even if they aren’t on an IRS form (for example, records you keep for your income as a part-time tutor).

Report all income you earn from running or owning a business or farm and deduct all allowable expenses.

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