Earned Income Tax Credit

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Earned Income - You must have earned income.  Earned income includes income from wages, salary, tips union strike benefits and self-employment. Earned income also includes some long-term disability payments paid by your employer.

The following items are not earned income:inmate income earned while in prison, unemployment benefits; child support; Social Security benefits; pensions; alimony; welfare benefits; food stamps; job training benefits; nontaxable employee pay and interest.

Filing Status - You must file single, married filing jointly or head of household to claim EITC. You cannot file "married filing separately."

Investment Income - You cannot claim EITC if you have investment income (interest, dividends, and rents) of more than $3,500.

Legal Status - You must be a United States citizen or resident alien. You are a resident alien if you have a "green card" or if you have been in the United States for a certain period of time. You do not have to be a legal resident to be a resident alien for tax purposes. Nonresident aliens cannot claim EITC.

Social Security Number - Both you and your spouse must have Social Security number(s) valid for employment. Any child you claim for EITC (qualifying child) must also have a Social Security number valid for employment.

You may go back three years and amend your tax return to claim the EITC if you receive a valid Social Security number after you file your tax return and qualify for the EITC.

If you have a Social Security number valid for employment and you did not file a return and claim the EITC, you may go back three years to file a tax return and claim EITC. This is true even if you have never filed a tax return or even if you used to have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or invalid Social Security number.

Qualifying Child - A qualifying child must meet the relationship, age and residence tests.

  1. Relationship Test - A qualifying child includes your son, daughter, adopted child, stepchild, grand- child, and great-grandchild. It also includes your brother, sister, step-brother, step-sister, niece, nephew or eligible foster child as long as you care for them as you would your own child.

  2. Age Test - Your qualifying child must be under age 19 (at the end of the year) or a full time student under age 24. To be a full time student, you must be enrolled in school full time for at least five months of the year. You can get EITC for children of any age who are totally and permanently disabled.

  3. Residence Tests - Your qualifying child must live with you in the United States for more than half the year. If your child is an eligible foster-child, the child must live with you for half of the year. In most cases, you do not have to claim your child as a dependent in order to qualify for EITC. You can be homeless and still claim the EITC.

Any person who worked full time or part-time during the year and meets certain rules could get EITC.

Single or married people without children may get up to $428 if you:

  • are between the ages of 25 and 64;

  • are not claimed as a dependent;

  • lived in the U.S. more than ½ of the year;

  • your income is less than $12,590 ($14,590 if filing a joint return).

If you have one child, you may get up to $2,853 if:

  • your family income is less than $33,241 ($35,241 if filing jointly);

If you have two or more children, you may get up to $4,716 if:

  • your family income is less than $37,783 ($39,783 if filing jointly).

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