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EIC Lets Working Families Keep More of What They Earn

The Earned Income Credit (EIC) is a credit to reduce taxes for people who earn low-to-moderate incomes.

Who qualifies?

Persons with or without a qualifying child may claim the EIC. The maximum credit you can get depends on whether you have no qualifying children, 1 qualifying child or more than 1 qualifying child.

What are the requirements with qualifying children?

You must meet the following requirements to claim the EIC with a qualifying child:
  • You must have a valid social security number.
  • You must have earned income from employment or from self-employment.
  • Your filing status can't be Married Filing Separately.
  • You must 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.
  • You cannot be a qualifying child of another person.

A qualifying child must have lived with you for more than half the tax year and be younger than 19 at the end of the taxable year, or younger than 24 at the end of the taxable year and a full-time student during any part of any 5 months during the taxable year, or any age if permanently and totally disabled.

For tax years 2005 and later, if 2 or more persons have the same qualifying child, they can choose which one will claim the child-related benefit using that child.

What are the requirements without qualifying children?

To claim the EIC without a qualifying child, you must meet the requirements listed above plus the following requirements:
  • You must be at least 25 but younger than 65 at the end of the year.
  • You lived in the U.S. for more than half the year.
  • You don't qualify as a dependent of another person.

What are the income limitations?

To claim the EIC, your income must also be less than the limit for your filing status and the number of your qualifying children (if any):
  • $36,348 ($38,348 for Married Filing Jointly) if you have more than 1 qualifying child
  • $32,001 ($34,001 for Married Filing Jointly) if you have 1 qualifying child
  • $12,120 ($14,120 for Married Filing Jointly) if you don't have a qualifying child

If you have investment income of more than $2,800, you may not claim the EIC. Investment income includes taxable interest, tax exempt interest, dividend income, capital gain net income, certain income from rents or royalties, and certain income from passive activities.

See Publication 596 to find the maximum credit available.

--content provided by irs.gov

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