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Do I Qualify for EITC?


Beginning in 2017, if you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) on your tax return, the IRS must hold your refund until at least February 15 — even the portion not associated with EITC or ACTC. See "Take Steps Now for Tax Filing Season" for more information on refunds.


You qualify for EITC if:

Use the EITC Assistant to find out your filing status, if your child is a qualifying child, if you are eligible, and estimate the amount of the credit you may get.

EITC has special rules for members of the military, members of the clergy, and taxpayers with certain types of disability income or children with disabilities.

Basic Rules

Social Security Number

You, your spouse and any qualifying child you list on your tax return must each have a Social Security number that is valid for employment that was issued before the due date of your return (including extensions).

Filing Status

You must file:

  • Married filing jointly

  • Head of household

  • Qualifying widow or widower

  • Single

You can't claim EITC if your filing status is married filing separately.

If you, or your spouse, are a nonresident alien, see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, to find out if you are eligible for EITC.

Income Earned During 2016

  • Your tax year investment income must be $3,400 or less for the year.

  • Must not file Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income or Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

  • Your total earned income must be at least $1.

  • Both your earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must be no more than:

Filing Status                                                                                 Qualifying Children Claimed

                                                                                           Zero          One           Two          Three or more

Single Head of Household or Surviving Spouse

                                                                                       $14,880       $39,296      $44,648           $47,955

Married Filing Jointly

                                                                                       $20,430      $44,846      $50,198            $53,505

For previous years, see EITC Income Limits, Maximum Credit and Tax Law Updates.

Additional Rules

I Have a Qualifying Child

If you, and your spouse if filing a joint return, meet the criteria above and you have a child who lives with you, you may be eligible for EITC. Each child you claim must pass the relationship, age, residency and joint return tests to be your qualifying child. See the Qualifying Child Rules for guidance.

I Don't Have a Qualifying Child

If you and your spouse, if filing a joint return, meet the basic EITC rules for everyone,you qualify for EITC if:

  • You resided in the United States for more than half of the year; AND

  • You cannot be claimed as a dependent or qualifying child on anyone else's return; AND

  • You must have been at least 25 but under 65 years old at the end of the tax year.

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