You qualify for EITC if:
- you have earned income and adjusted gross income within certain limits; AND
- you meet certain basic rules; AND
- you either:
- meet the rules for those without a qualifying child; OR
- have a child that meets all the qualifying child rules for you, or your spouse if you file a joint return.
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.
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).
You must file:
- Married filing jointly
- Head of household
- Qualifying widow or widower
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.
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.
Special EITC rules for members of the military, ministers, members of the clergy, those receiving disability benefits and those impacted by disasters.
Many persons with disabilities or persons having children with disabilities qualify for EITC.
When Can I Expect My Refund?
If you claim the earned income tax credit (EITC) or the 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.