Topic Number 601 - Earned Income Credit

You may qualify for the earned income tax credit (EITC) if you worked last year but earned a low or moderate income. EITC is a refundable tax credit, which means that even if you don't owe any tax, you can still receive a refund.

To qualify for the credit, your adjusted gross income (AGI) must be below a certain amount, and you must:

  • Have a social security number (SSN) valid for employment (if you're filing a joint return, your spouse also must have an SSN valid for employment) by the due date of your return (including extensions). If you don't have an SSN by the due date of your return (including extensions), you can't claim the EIC on either an original or an amended return, even if you later get an SSN. Any qualifying child listed on Form 1040A or 1040, Schedule EIC.pdf, also must have an SSN valid for employment by the due date of your return (including extensions). If a child didn't have an SSN by the due date of your return (including extensions), you can't count that child as a qualifying child in figuring the EIC on either your original or an amended return, even if that child later gets an SSN
  • Have a filing status other than married filing separately
  • Be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year, or a nonresident alien married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien and filing a joint return
  • Not file Form 2555.pdf or Form 2555-EZ.pdf (related to foreign earned income)
  • Not have investment income over $3,450
  • Have earned income from employment or from self-employment
  • Not be a qualifying child of another person (if you're filing a joint return, your spouse also can't be a qualifying child of another person)
  • Have a qualifying child who meets the age, relationship, residency, and joint return tests, and isn't treated as the qualifying child of another person. Or, if you don't have a qualifying child, you must:
    • be age 25 but under 65 at the end of the year
    • not qualify as a dependent of another person, and
    • live in the United States for more than half of the year

 

If you qualify for the credit, the amount of your EITC will depend on your filing status, whether you have a qualifying child, and if so, how many, and the amount of your wages and income last year. Qualifying children must be listed on Form 1040A or 1040, Schedule EIC.pdf.

For more information or to see if you qualify, see Publication 596, Earned Income Credit, and visit Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).