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previous pagePrevious Page: Instructions for Form 1040-A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return - Tax, Credits, and Payments
next pageNext Page: Instructions for Form 1040-A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return - Line 41
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for these Instructions
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP0bf1487a

Lines 40a and 40b—Earned Income Credit (EIC)(p40)


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taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP37597991

What is the EIC?(p40)


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The EIC is a credit for certain people who work. The credit may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax.
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You may be able to elect to use your 2007 earned income to figure your EIC if (a) your 2007 earned income is more than your 2008 earned income, and (b) your main home was in a Midwestern disaster area. Also, special rules may apply for people who had to relocate because of the storms, tornadoes, or flooding in a Midwestern disaster area. For details, see Pub. 4492-B.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP0e200f2f

To Take the EIC:(p40)


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For help in determining if you are eligible for the EIC, go to  
www.irs.gov/eitc and click on EITC Assistant. This service is available in English and Spanish.
caution
If you take the EIC even though you are not eligible and it is determined that your error is due to reckless or intentional disregard of the EIC rules, you will not be allowed to take the credit for 2 years even if you are otherwise eligible to do so. If you fraudulently take the EIC, you will not be allowed to take the credit for 10 years. See Form 8862, who must file, on page 42. You may also have to pay penalties.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP3bc37948

 Step 1   All Filers

1.  If, in 2008:
  2 children lived with you, is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $38,646 ($41,646 if married filing jointly)?
  1 child lived with you, is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $33,995 ($36,995 if married filing jointly)?
  No children lived with you, is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $12,880 ($15,880 if married filing jointly)?
Yes.  Go to  question 2.
No. Stop.  You cannot take the credit.
2.  Do you, and your spouse if filing a joint return, have a social security number that allows you to work or is valid for EIC purposes (see page 43)?
Yes.  Continue...
No. Stop.  You cannot take the credit. Enter No to the left of the entry space for line 40a.
3.  Is your filing status married filing separately?
Yes. Stop.  You cannot take the credit.
No.  Continue...
4.  Were you or your spouse a nonresident alien for any part of 2008?
Yes.  See Nonresident aliens on page 43.
No.  Go to Step 2.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP7f41f73a

 Step 2   Investment Income

1.  Add the amounts from  Form 1040A:
 Line 8a              
 Line 8b+             
 Line 9a+             
 Line 10+             
     
Investment Income=  
     
2.  Is your investment income more than $2,950?
Yes. Stop.  You cannot take the credit.
No.  Go to Step 3.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP083dce87

 Step 3   Qualifying Child

A qualifying child for the EIC is a child who is your...
Son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew)
was ...
Under age 19 at the end of 2008
or
Under age 24 at the end of 2008 and a student (see page 43)
or
Any age and permanently and totally disabled (see page 43)
who...
Lived with you in the United States for more than half
of 2008.
If the child did not live with you for the
required time, see Exception to time lived with you on
page 42.
caution If the child meets the conditions to be a qualifying child of any other person (other than your spouse if filing a joint return) for 2008, or the child was married, see page 43.
 
1.  Do you have at least one child who meets the conditions to be your qualifying child?
Yes.  The child must have a valid social security number as defined on page 43 unless the child was born and died in 2008. Go to question 2.
No.  Skip question 2; go to Step 4.
2.  Could you, or your spouse if filing a joint return, be a qualifying child of another person in 2008?
Yes. Stop.  You cannot take the credit. Enter No to the left of the entry space for line 40a.
No.  Skip Step 4; go to Step 5 on page 42.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP2593852c

 Step 4   Filers Without a Qualifying Child

1.  Is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $12,880 ($15,880 if married filing jointly)?
Yes.  Continue...
No. Stop.  You cannot take the credit.
2.  Could you, or your spouse if filing a joint return, be a qualifying child of another person in 2008?
Yes. Stop.  You cannot take the credit. Enter No to the left of the entry space for line 40a.
No.  Continue...
3.  Can you, or your spouse if filing a joint return, be claimed as a dependent on someone else's 2008 tax return?
Yes. Stop.  You cannot take the credit.
No.  Continue...
4.  Were you, or your spouse if filing a joint return, at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of 2008?
Yes.  Continue...
No. Stop.  You cannot take the credit.
5.  Was your home, and your spouse's if filing a joint return, in the United States for more than half of 2008? Members of the military stationed outside the United States, see page 43 before you answer.
Yes.  Go to Step 5  on page 42.
No. Stop.  You cannot take the credit. Enter No to the left of the entry space for line 40a.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP34a98fac

 Step 5   Earned Income

1.  Figure earned income*:
 Form 1040A, line 7              
 Subtract, if included on line 7, any:   
Taxable scholarship or fellowship grant not reported on a Form W-2.   
Amount received for work performed while an inmate in a penal institution (enter "PRI" and the amount subtracted to the left of the entry space for Form 1040A, line 7).   
Amount received as a pension or annuity from a nonqualified deferred compensation plan or a nongovernmental section 457 plan (enter "DFC" and the amount subtracted to the left of the entry space for Form 1040A, line 7). This amount may be shown in Form W-2, box 11. If you received such an amount but box 11 is blank, contact your employer for the amount received as a pension or annuity. Right brace            
 Add all of your nontaxable combat pay if you elect to include it in earned income. Also enter this amount on Form 1040A, line 40b. See Combat pay, nontaxable on this page.  +            
  caution Electing to include nontaxable combat pay may increase or decrease your EIC. Figure the credit with and without your nontaxable combat pay before making the election.   
  Earned Income = caution
*You may be able to elect to use your 2007 earned income instead of your 2008 earned income to figure your 2008 EIC if (a) your 2007 earned income is more than your 2008 earned income, and (b) your main home was in a Midwestern disaster area. For details, see Pub. 4492-B.
CautionElecting to use your 2007 earned income may increase or decrease your EIC. Figure the credit using your 2008 earned income. Then figure the credit using your 2007 earned income. Compare the total of your EIC and additional child tax credit, if any, using the earned income for both 2007 and 2008 before making the election. If you elect to use your 2007 earned income, enter "PYEI" and the amount of your 2007 earned income to the left of the entry space for line 40a.
  
2.  If you have:
  2 or more qualifying children, is your earned income less than $38,646 ($41,646 if married filing jointly)?
  1 qualifying child, is your earned income less than $33,995 ($36,995 if married filing jointly)?
  No qualifying children, is your earned income less than $12,880 ($15,880 if married filing jointly)?
Yes.  Go to Step 6.
No. Stop.  You cannot take the credit.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP648cb650

 Step 6   How To Figure the Credit

1.  Do you want the IRS to figure the credit for you?
Yes.  See Credit figured by the IRS below.
No.  Go to the worksheet on page 44.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP6e4fa7c0

Definitions and Special Rules(p42)


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(listed in alphabetical order)
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP75b03c24

Adopted child.(p42)

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An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP22d8ff5e

Combat pay, nontaxable.(p42)

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If you were a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who served in a combat zone, certain pay is excluded from your income. See Combat Zone Exclusion in Pub. 3. You can elect to include this pay in your earned income when figuring the EIC. The amount of your nontaxable combat pay should be shown in box 12 of Form(s) W-2 with code Q. If you are filing a joint return and both you and your spouse received nontaxable combat pay, you can each make your own election.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP7833842b

Credit figured by the IRS.(p42)

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To have the IRS figure your EIC:
  1. Enter EIC to the left of the entry space for Form 1040A, 
    line 40a.
  2. Be sure you enter the nontaxable combat pay you elect to include in earned income on Form 1040A, line 40b. See above.
  3. If you have a qualifying child, complete and attach Schedule EIC. If your EIC for a year after 1996 was reduced or disallowed, see later.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP58a71c5f

Exception to time lived with you.(p42)

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Temporary absences by you or the child for special circumstances, such as school, vacation, business, medical care, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility, count as time the child lived with you. Also see Kidnapped child on page 22 or Members of the military on page 43. A child is considered to have lived with you for all of 2008 if the child was born or died in 2008 and your home was this child's home for the entire time he or she was alive in 2008.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP78792b55

Form 8862, who must file.(p42)

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You must file Form 8862 if your EIC for a year after 1996 was reduced or disallowed for any reason other than a math or clerical error. But do not file Form 8862 if either of the following applies.
Also, do not file Form 8862 or take the credit for the:
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP6b47936a

Foster child.(p43)

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A foster child is any child placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction. For more details on authorized placement agencies, see Pub. 596.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP3ea8aaa8

Married child.(p43)

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A child who was married at the end of 2008 is a qualifying child only if (a) you can claim him or her as your dependent on Form 1040A, line 6c, or (b) you could have claimed him or her as your dependent except for the special rule under Children of divorced or separated parents that begins on page 21.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP29df9bc3

Members of the military.(p43)

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If you were on extended active duty outside the United States, your home is considered to be in the United States during that duty period. Extended active duty is military duty ordered for an indefinite period or for a period of more than 90 days. Once you begin serving extended active duty, you are considered to be on extended active duty even if you do not serve more than 90 days.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP228603de

Nonresident aliens.(p43)

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If your filing status is married filing jointly, go to Step 2 on page 40. Otherwise, stop; you cannot take the EIC. Enter No to the left of the entry space for line 40a.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP253c6e79

Permanently and totally disabled.(p43)

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A person is permanently and totally disabled if, at any time in 2008, the person cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition and a doctor has determined that this condition (a) has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year, or (b) can be expected to lead to death.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP604012d4

Qualifying child of more than one person.(p43)

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If the child is the qualifying child of more than one person, only one person can claim the child as a qualifying child for all of the following tax benefits, unless the special rule for Children of divorced or separated parents that begins on page 21 applies.
  1. Dependency exemption (line 6c).
  2. Child tax credits (lines 33 and 41).
  3. Head of household filing status (line 4).
  4. Credit for child and dependent care expenses (line 29).
  5. Exclusion for dependent care benefits (Schedule 2, Part III).
  6. Earned income credit (lines 40a and 40b).
No other person can take any of the six tax benefits listed above unless he or she has a different qualifying child. If you and any other person claim the child as a qualifying child, the IRS will apply the following rules.

Example.(p43)

Your daughter meets the conditions to be a qualifying child for both you and your mother. If you and your mother both claim tax benefits based on the child, the rules above apply. Under these rules, you are entitled to treat your daughter as a qualifying child for all of the six tax benefits listed earlier for which you otherwise qualify. Your mother would not be entitled to take any of the six tax benefits listed earlier unless she has a different qualifying child.
If you will not be taking the EIC with a qualifying child, enter No to the left of the entry space for line 40a. Otherwise, go to Step 3, question 1, on page 41.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP5a6ee401

Social security number (SSN).(p43)

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For the EIC, a valid SSN is a number issued by the Social Security Administration unless Not Valid for Employment is printed on the social security card and the number was issued solely to apply for or receive a federally funded benefit.
To find out how to get an SSN, see page 17. If you will not have an SSN by the date your return is due, see What If You Cannot File on Time? on page 7.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP6bbda14a

Student.(p43)

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A student is a child who during any part of 5 calendar months of 2008 was enrolled as a full-time student at a school, or took a full-time, on-farm training course given by a school or a state, county, or local government agency. A school includes a technical, trade, or mechanical school. It does not include an on-the-job training course, correspondence school, or school offering courses only through the Internet.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-017.htm#TXMP31e25896

Welfare benefits, effect of credit on.(p43)

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Any refund you receive as a result of taking the EIC will not be used to determine if you are eligible for the following programs or how much you can receive from them. But if the refund you receive because of the EIC is not spent within a certain period of time, it can count as an asset (or resource) and affect your eligibility.
previous pagePrevious Page: Instructions for Form 1040-A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return - Tax, Credits, and Payments
next pageNext Page: Instructions for Form 1040-A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return - Line 41
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for these Instructions