To qualify for the Earned Income Credit, or EIC, taxpayers must have Social Security numbers, earned income and be United States citizens, notes the Internal Revenue Service. Taxpayers cannot claim the EIC if their filing status is married filing separately, if the taxpayer is the qualifying child of another person or if filing income tax forms related to foreign earned income. Additionally, the taxpayer's income must meet the EIC income limits, and the taxpayer must be age 25 or older yet less than age 65 if they do not have a qualifying child and must reside in the U.S. for more than half the year.
A qualifying child is a child who meets the IRS's age, relationship, residency and joint return tests, according to the IRS. Children must be younger than age 19 at the end of the tax year, and the child must be younger than the taxpayer and/or the taxpayers spouse for a joint return. The child may be up to age 24 if the child is a full-time student, or the child may be any age if he child is permanently and totally disabled. The child must also be a son, daughter, stepchild, foster child or a descendant of any of these. The child must have lived with the taxpayer during the tax year for at least 6 months, notes the IRS.