Taxation

Earned Income Credit FAQs

Are you a worker making low wages? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers a credit to help out low-income workers and their families. It's called the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This credit will reduce the tax amount you owe. Here are some frequently asked questions about the EITC.



Q: Am I eligible to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit?

  • A:

    There are a number of requirements you must meet in order to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit:

    • You have to have earned income from working
    • Your income must meet the EITC income limits
    • You have to have a valid social security number
    • Your filing status can't be married filing separately
    • You must have a qualifying child (other requirements if you don't have a qualifying child)
    • You can't be the qualifying child of another person



Q: Who's a qualifying child?

  • A:Your child qualifies if he meets the age, relationship and residency tests.



Q: What's the age test for a qualifying child?

  • A:In order to qualify, the child must be under 19 years old. The age limit goes up to 24 if he's a full-time student. Your child can also qualify if he's permanently and totally disabled, no matter how old he is.



Q: What's the relationship test for a qualifying child?

  • A:The test allows a wide-variety of relationships to qualify a child. Some examples include biological children, stepchildren, siblings and eligible foster children.



Q: What's the residency test for a qualifying child?

  • A:You must have lived with the child for more than half of the year in the United States.



Q: How do I claim the Earned Income Tax Credit without a qualifying child?

  • A:You have to be at least 25 years old but under 65, not qualify as another person's dependent and live in the United States for more than half of the year.



Q: I am a noncustodial parent. Can I claim the Earned Income Tax Credit if the custodial parent gives me permission to claim it?

  • A:No, you can't claim the credit since the child didn't meet the residency test and, therefore, doesn't qualify.



Q: Can my husband and I each claim one of our children on two separate tax returns?

  • A:No, because your filing status can't be married filing separately.



Q: Does the Earned Income Tax Credit income limits and credit amounts stay the same every year?

  • A:No, the limits on your income and the maximum credit amounts change every year.

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