Earned Income Tax Credit Rules for Everyone


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

  1. Have a Social Security Number that is valid for employment that is issued on or before the due date of your tax return (including extensions).
  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 PDF)
  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 Earned Income Tax Credit Income and Maximum Credit Amounts page.
  8. Your investment income must meet or be less than the amount listed on the Earned Income Tax Credit Income and Maximum Credit Amounts 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.

EITC Assistant

Find out if you are eligible for the EITC by answering a few questions and providing basic income information using the EITC Assistant. It also helps you determine your filing status,  find out if your child meets the rules for a qualifying child and estimates the amount of your credit. 

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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