The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families. The tax credit was first initiated by Congress in 1975. When EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit. The credit provides a wage supplement for low and moderate-income families, that earn less than $48,362 annually. These credits range from $457 for a family with no qualifying children up to $5,666 for eligible families with three or more children.
Do You Qualify?
To qualify, taxpayers must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if they do not have a filing requirement.
According to the IRS Website for Earned Income Tax Credit, which lists EITC rules, everyone qualifying, must have earned income from employment, self-employment or another source and meet all of the following:
1. Have a valid Social Security Number
2. Have earned income from employment, self-employment or another source
3. Cannot use the married, filing separate filing status
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 and choose to file a joint return and be treated as a resident alien
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
9. If you are married and file a joint return with your spouse, your spouse must also meet the EITC rules for everyone.
In addition, the Website lists the rules for workers without a qualifying child:
1. You (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) must have lived in the United States for more than half the tax year,
2. Either you or your spouse, if filing a joint return, must be at least age 25 but under age 65,
3. You (or your spouse, if filing a joint return) cannot qualify as a dependent of another person.
What is Considered Taxible Earned Income for EITC?
According to the IRS EITC Webpage, Taxable earned income includes: Wages, salaries, tips, union strike benefits, long-term disability benefits received prior to minimum retirement age and net earnings from self-employment.
They list Income that is not considered earned to include: Interest and dividends, pensions; Social Security, unemployment benefits, alimony and child support.
It’s simple to find out if you qualify for the EITC. Visit the IRS Website. Their online EITC Assistant page tool will determine your eligibility, your filing status, your qualifying children, and it can also estimate your credit amount. You can also phone the IRS at 1-800-TAX-1040. If you qualify for EITC, free file and fillable tax forms are available online here.
Required to File to get EITC
Remember, the Earned Income Tax Credit program can help families make ends meet, but you can’t benefit from the program if you don’t file an income tax return.
Internal Revenue Service, Earned Income Tax Credit Program
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