How Do You Qualify for the Earned Income Credit?


Quick Answer

Workers can qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, by gaining taxable earnings from an employer, business or farm and ranking in the correct income bracket based on specific household demographics, according to the Internal Revenue Service. While a childless person between the ages of 25 and 65 is eligible for the EITC, having qualifying children directly increases the credit total.

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How Do You Qualify for the Earned Income Credit?
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Full Answer

The federal EITC was designed to promote financial stability for low- to moderate-income individuals by offsetting taxes, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The organization estimates that the credit helped approximately 6.5 million people move above the poverty line in 2012.

To claim the EITC, the taxpayer must have a valid Social Security number and cannot be a married person filling independently, the IRS states. The person must also be a U.S. citizen, a legal resident or a non-resident alien filing jointly with a qualifying spouse. Dependents can't file for the credit, and filing Form 2555 or Form 2555 EZ for foreign income disqualifies taxpayers from receiving the EITC.

In the 2013 tax year, a childless person with an income at or below $14,340 could earn up to $487 from the EITC, according to the IRS. A person with three or more children could have a maximum income of $46,227, resulting in a credit of $6,044. The maximum qualifying income is increased at all levels for couples filing joint returns.

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