Earned Income Credit

Preview of 2013 Tax Year

Earned Income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than:

  • $46,227 ($51,567 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
  • $43,038 ($48,378 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
  • $37,870 ($43,210 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
  • $14,340 ($19,680 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children

Tax Year 2013 maximum credit:

  • $6,044 with three or more qualifying children
  • $5,372 with two qualifying children
  • $3,250 with one qualifying child
  • $487 with no qualifying children

Investment income must be $3,300 or less for the year.

For more information on whether a child qualifies you for  EITC, see Qualifying Child Rules orPublication 596, Rules If You Have a Qualifying Child

Do You Qualify for EITC?
To qualify for EITC you must have earned income from employment, self-employment or another source and meet certain rules. Also, you must either meet the additional rules for workers without a qualifying child or have a child that meets all the qualifying child rules for you.
Earned Income
Find out more about what is earned income here.

What is Earned Income?

Earned income includes all the taxable income and wages you get from working or from certain disability payments.

There are two ways to get earned income:

You work for someone who pays you

or

You own or run a business or farm

Taxable earned income includes:

  • Wages, salaries, tips, and other taxable employee pay;
  • Union strike benefits;
  • Long-term disability benefits received prior to minimum retirement age;
  • Net earnings from self-employment if:

Nontaxable Combat Pay election. You can elect to have your nontaxable combat pay included in earned income for EITC. The amount of your nontaxable combat pay should be shown on your Form W-2, in box 12, with code Q. Electing to include nontaxable combat pay in earned income may increase or decrease your EITC. See Publication 3. Armed Forces Tax Guide, for more information.

Examples of Income that are Not Earned Income:

  • Pay received for work while an inmate in a penal institution
  • Interest and dividends
  • Retirement income
  • Social security
  • Unemployment benefits,
  • Alimony
  • Child support.

EITC Rules for Everyone

To qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC, you, and your spouse if married and filing a joint return, must meet all of the following rules:

  1. Have a Social Security Number that is valid for employment
  2. Have earned income from working for someone, running or owning a business or farm or another source
  3. Cannot file as married filing separate
  4. Must be:
    •  a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year or
    •  a nonresident alien married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien, file a joint return and choose to be treated as a resident alien (for more information on making this choice, see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens)
  5. Cannot be the qualifying child of another person
  6. Cannot file Form 2555 or 2555-EZ (related to foreign earned income)
  7. Your Adjusted Gross Income and earned income must meet the limits shown on the Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates Page
  8. Your investment income must meet or be less than the amount listed on the Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates Page

After you meet the EITC rules for everyone, you must either meet the rules for workers without a qualifying child or have a child that meets the qualifying child rules.

Find out about the rules you and your spouse, if you file a joint return, must meet to claim EITC.
Qualifying Child Rules

If you and your spouse, if filing a joint return, meet the EITC rules for Everyone and you have a child who lives with you, you may be eligible for EITC. Your child must pass the relationship, age, residency, and joint return tests to be your qualifying child. All four tests must be met for each child you claim. Find the rules for a qualifying child for EITC here.

Your child must have a Social Security Number that is valid for employment and must pass all of the following tests to be your qualifying child for EITC:

Relationship

  • Your son, daughter, adopted child1, stepchild, foster child2 or a descendent of any of them such as your grandchild
  • Brother, sister, half brother, half sister, step brother, step sister or a descendant of any of them such as a niece or nephew

Age

  • At the end of the filing year, your child was younger than you (or your spouse if you file a joint return) and younger than 19
  • At the end of the filing year, your child was younger than you (or your spouse if you file a joint return), younger than 24 and a full-time student
  • At the end of the filing year, your child was any age and permanently and totally disabled3

Residency

  • Child must live with you (or your spouse if you file a joint return) in the United States4 for more than half of the year

Joint Return

  • The child cannot file a joint return for the year, unless the child and the child’s spouse did not have a separate filing requirement and filed the joint return only to claim a refund.

IMPORTANT:  Only one person can claim the same child. If a child qualifies for more than one person and one of the persons is a parent or parents, the non-parent can claim the child only if theirAGI is higher than the parent(s). If the child qualifies another relative and the parent AGI rules do not apply, the taxpayers choose. If more than one person claims the same child, IRS applies the tiebreaker rules. Read more about Qualifying Child of More Than One Person here.
Rules for those Without a Qualifying Chil
If you and your spouse, if filing a joint return, meet the EITC Rules for Everyone and you do not have a qualifying child, you may be eligible for EITC. Find the rules for those without a qualifying child here.

If you do not have a child or do not have a child that meets all four qualifying child tests and your income is low, you may be able to claim EITC, the Earned Income Tax Credit. We believe this group of workers is the largest group who do not file a return to claim the credit. And, you must file a return to claim EITC.

Return to EITC Home Page


If you or your spouse, if you are married and file a joint return, worked for someone, worked for yourself or had other earned income* you may be eligible for the credit.

After you and your spouse, if you are married and file a joint return, meet the EITC rules for everyone ( Find the EITC Rules for Everyone Here), you must meet these additional rules if you do not have a qualifying child*:

Check here for the income levels for this year,  prior years and the upcoming tax year . Also, you may be able to go back to claim the credit for the last few years.

EITC Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates
See the EITC Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates for the current year, previous years and the upcoming year.
Special EITC Rules
Special EITC rules for members of the military, ministers, members of the clergy, those receiving disability benefits and those impacted by disasters. Read more about the special rules.
Disability and EITC
Many persons with disabilities or persons having children with disabilities qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC. Find out more about Disability and EITC go to  irs.gov