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Do I Qualify for EITC?

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You qualify for EITC if:

Use the EITC Assistant to find out your filing status, if your child is a qualifying child, if you are eligible, and estimate the amount of the credit you may get.

EITC has special rules for members of the military, members of the clergy, and taxpayers with certain types of disability income or children with disabilities.

Basic Rules

Social Security Number

You, your spouse and any qualifying child you list on your tax return must each have a Social Security number that is valid for employment that was issued before the due date of your return (including extensions).

Filing Status

You must file:

  • Married filing jointly
  • Head of household
  • Qualifying widow or widower
  • Single

You can't claim EITC if your filing status is married filing separately.

If you, or your spouse, are a nonresident alien, see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, to find out if you are eligible for EITC.

Income Earned During 2016

  • Your tax year investment income must be $3,400 or less for the year.
  • Must not file Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income or Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.
  • Your total earned income must be at least $1.
  • Both your earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must be no more than:
Filing Status Qualifying Children Claimed
Zero One Two Three or more
Single, Head of Household or Surviving Spouse $14,880 $39,296 $44,648 $47,955
Married Filing Jointly $20,430 $44,846 $50,198 $53,505

For previous years, see EITC Income Limits, Maximum Credit and Tax Law Updates.

Additional Rules

I Have a Qualifying Child

If you, and your spouse if filing a joint return, meet the criteria above and you have a child who lives with you, you may be eligible for EITC. Each child you claim must pass the relationship, age, residency and joint return tests to be your qualifying child. See the Qualifying Child Rules for guidance.

I Don't Have a Qualifying Child

If you and your spouse, if filing a joint return, meet the basic EITC rules for everyone,you qualify for EITC if:

  • You resided in the United States for more than half of the year; AND
  • You cannot be claimed as a dependent or qualifying child on anyone else's return; AND
  • You must have been at least 25 but under 65 years old at the end of the tax year.

Exceptions

Special EITC Rules

Special EITC rules for members of the military, ministers, members of the clergy, those receiving disability benefits and those impacted by disasters.

Disability and EITC

Many persons with disabilities or persons having children with disabilities qualify for  EITC.

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, the IRS must hold your refund until at least February 15 — even the portion not associated with EITC or ACTC.

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

 

 

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 20-Apr-2017

Keep more of what you earn with an Earned Income Tax Credit. Find out if you qualify for an EITC this (button).