Your child must have the required Social Security number that was issued on or before the due date of the tax return (including extensions) and must pass all of the following tests to be your qualifying child for the EITC:
- Your son, daughter, adopted child1, stepchild, foster child2 or a descendent of any of them, such as your grandchild
- Brother, sister, half brother, half sister, step brother, step sister or a descendant of any of them, such as a niece or a nephew
- At the end of the filing year, your child was younger than you (or your spouse if filing a joint return) and younger than 19
- At the end of the filing year, your child was younger than you (or your spouse if filing a joint return), younger than 24, and a full-time student
- At the end of the filing year, your child was any age and permanently and totally disabled3
- The child must have the same main home as you (or your spouse if filing a joint return) in the United States4 for more than half of the tax year
- The child cannot file a joint return for the tax year unless neither the child nor the child's spouse would have had a separate filing requirement and they filed the joint return only to claim a refund of withheld or estimated taxes.
IMPORTANT: Generally, only one person may claim a child as a qualifying child for the child-related tax benefits. If a child is a qualifying child of more than one person and one of the persons is a parent, a non-parent can claim the child if no parent claims the child and the nonparent's AGI is higher than the AGI of any parent who may claim the child. If a child is the qualifying child of more than one person, the IRS applies tiebreaker rules. Read more about Qualifying Child of More Than One Person here.
Refer to Publication 596, Earned Income Credit or Publication 596 (SP) Credito por Ingreso del Trabajo for information on the following:
- Definition of School and Student
- Residency Test and Homeless Shelters
- Residency Test and Military Personnel
- Birth or Death of a Child
- Temporary Absences
- Kidnapped Child
1Adopted Child. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. It also includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
2Foster Child. For purposes of the EITC, a child is your eligible foster child if the child is placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction. (An authorized placement agency includes a state or local government agency or an Indian tribal government. It may also include a tax-exempt organization licensed by a state or an organization authorized by an Indian tribal government.)
3Permanently and totally disabled. Your child is permanently and totally disabled if both of the following apply: The child cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition and it is medically determined that the condition has lasted or can be expected to last at least a year or lead to death.
4United States. This term means the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It does not include Puerto Rico or U.S. possessions such as Guam.
Keep More of What You Earn
The Earned Income Tax Credit helps low- to moderate-income workers and families get a tax break.