For nearly 40 years, the Earned Income Tax Credit has been helping low- to moderate-income workers by giving them a boost to their income. Four out of five eligible workers claim EITC, but the IRS wants every eligible worker to claim and get this credit.
Here are some things the IRS wants you to know about this important credit:
Review your eligibility. If you worked and earned under $51,567, you may be eligible for EITC. If your financial or family situation has changed, you should review the EITC eligibility rules. You might qualify for EITC this year even if you didn’t in the past. Workers who qualify for EITC must file a federal income tax return and specifically claim the credit to get it, even if they do not have a requirement to file a return.
Know the rules. Before claiming EITC, you need to understand the rules to be sure you qualify. It’s important to get it and get it right. There are several factors to consider:
- Your filing status can’t be Married Filing Separately.
- You must have a valid Social Security number for yourself, your spouse if married, and any qualifying child listed on your tax return.
- You must have earned income. Earned income includes earnings such as wages, self-employment and farm income.
- You may be married or single, with or without children to qualify. If you don’t have children, you must also meet age, residency and dependency rules.
- If you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in a combat zone, special rules apply.
Lower your tax or get a refund. The EITC reduces your federal tax and could result in a refund. If you qualify, the credit could be worth up to $6,044. The average credit was $2,355 last year.
Use free services. Don’t guess about your EITC eligibility. Use the EITC Assistant tool on IRS.gov. The tool helps you find out if you qualify and will estimate the amount of your EITC. The best way to file your return to claim EITC is to use IRS Free File. Free brand-name software will figure your taxes and EITC for you.
Combining e-file with direct deposit is the fastest and safest way to get your refund. Free File is available exclusively on IRS.gov/freefile. Free help preparing and e-filing your return to claim your EITC is also available at thousands of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites around the country.
For more information, see IRS Publication 596, Earned Income Credit. It’s available in English and Spanish on IRS.gov or by calling 800.TAX.FORM (800.829.3676.)