You may be eligible to claim the Earned Income Credit if:
- Your Adjusted Gross Income on Form 1040 Line 36 is less than $11,490 (for Single people) or less than $12,490 (for Married people) and you have no dependents.
- Your Adjusted Gross Income on Form 1040 Line 36 is less than $34,458 (for Head of Household) or less than $35,458 (for Married people) and you have qualifying dependents.
- You and your spouse (if married) cannot be claimed as a dependent by someone else.
- You and your spouse (if married) are between the ages of 25 and 64.
Use the worksheet in the Instructions for Form 1040 (PDF), pages 45 through 47, to calculate your Earned Income Credit.
If you want the IRS to calculate your Earned Income Credit for you, enter the word "EIC" on Form 1040 Line 65a. Otherwise, use your "earned income" figure from the worksheet on page 45 to look up your tax credit amount on the EIC table on pages 48 through 53.
Put the EIC figure on Form 1040 Line 65a.
Combat Pay. If you earned combat pay, you can choose to include your combat pay in calculating your EIC. Calculate your earned income credit both ways with and without combat pay and use the method that results in the higher EIC amount. Combat pay is found on your W-2 statement, box 14, code Q. If including your combat pay for calculating your EIC, put your combat pay amount on Form 1040 Line 65b.
Qualifying Children for the Earned Income Tax CreditYou can claim up to two children to obtain the maximum Earned Income Credit for your income level. To claim a qualifying child or children you must attached Schedule EIC to your Form 1040. A qualifying child meets the following three criteria:
- Relationship test,
- Age test, and
- Residency test.
Relationship Test: The child must be related to you by birth, marriage, adoption, or foster arrangement. The child can be your son, daughter, grandchild, niece, nephew, brother, sister, or eligible foster child. Adopted children are treated the same as children by birth. Foster children must be placed in your care by an authorized placement agency.
Age Test: The child must be age 18 or younger at the end of the year, or the child must be age 23 or younger and a full-time student. If you care for a person who is totally and permanently disabled, you can claim this person for the Earned Income Credit regardless of the person's age.
Residency Test: The child must live with you for more than half the year and must live with you in the United States. More than half a year means six months and a day. The residency test means that two people are not able to claim the same child for the Earned Income Credit.
Additionally, your child must have a valid Social Security Number, individual tax identification number (ITIN), or adoption tax identification number (ATIN). If your child does not have a valid SSN or tax id number, then you cannot claim the child for the Earned Income Credit.
Finally, you cannot claim the earned income tax credit if your filing status is Married Filing Separately. However, if you and your spouse are separated and your spouse did not live with you at any time during the last 6 months of the year, you can file as Head of Household and claim the Earned Income Credit.