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previous page Previous Page: Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Tax - Information for Only the Lifetime Learning Credit
next page Next Page: Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Tax - Part A. Rules for Everyone
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taxmap/pub17/p17-186.htm#en_us_publink100035053

Chapter 36
Earned Income Credit(p238)

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What's New(p238)


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Earned income amount is more.(p238)

The maximum amount of income you can earn and still get the credit has increased. You may be able to take the credit if: Your adjusted gross income also must be less than the amount in the above list that applies to you. For details, see Rules 1 and 15.
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Midwestern disaster area.(p238)

If your main home was in a Midwestern disaster area when the disaster occurred and your 2008 earned income is less than your 2007 earned income, you may be able to elect to use your 2007 earned income to figure your 2008 earned income credit. For details, see Publication 4492-B.
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Investment income amount is more.(p238)

The maximum amount of investment income you can have and still get the credit has increased to $2,950. See Rule 6.

Reminders(p238)


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Increased EIC on certain joint returns.(p238)

A married person filing a joint return may get more EIC than someone with the same income but a different filing status. As a result, the EIC table has different columns for married persons filing jointly than for everyone else. When you look up your EIC in the EIC Table, be sure to use the correct column for your filing status and the number of children you have.
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Advance payment of the earned income credit in your paycheck.(p238)

If you expect to qualify for the earned income credit in 2009, you can receive part of it in each paycheck throughout the year. See Advance Earned Income Credit, later, for more information.
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Online help.(p238)

You can use the EITC Assistant at www.irs.gov/eitc to find out if you are eligible for the credit. The EITC Assistant is available in English and Spanish.
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EIC questioned by IRS.(p238)

The IRS may ask you to provide documents to prove you are entitled to claim the EIC. We will tell you what documents to send us. These may include: birth certificates, school records, medical records, etc. We will also send you a letter with the name, address, and telephone number of the IRS employee assigned to your case. The process of establishing your eligibility will delay your refund.
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The earned income credit (EIC) is a tax credit for certain people who work and have less than $41,646 of earned income. A tax credit usually means more money in your pocket. It reduces the amount of tax you owe. The EIC may also give you a refund.
taxmap/pub17/p17-186.htm#en_us_publink100035062

How do you get the earned income credit?(p238)


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How do you get the earned income credit?

To claim the EIC, you must:
  1. Qualify by meeting certain rules, and
  2. File a tax return, even if you:
    1. Do not owe any tax,
    2. Did not earn enough money to file a return, or
    3. Did not have income taxes withheld from your pay.
When you complete your return, you can figure your EIC by using a worksheet in the instructions for Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040EZ. Or, if you prefer, you can let the IRS figure the credit for you.
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How will this chapter help you?(p238)


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This chapter will explain the following.

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Useful items

You may want to see:


Publication
 596 Earned Income Credit (EIC)
Form (and Instructions)
 Schedule EIC: Earned Income Credit (Qualifying Child Information)
 W-5: Earned Income Credit Advance Payment Certificate
 8862: Information To Claim Earned Income Credit After Disallowance
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Do You Qualify for the Credit?(p239)


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To qualify to claim the EIC, you must first meet all of the rules explained in Part A, Rules for Everyone. Then you must meet the rules in Part B, Rules If You Have a Qualifying Child, or Part C, Rules If You Do Not Have a Qualifying Child. There is one final rule you must meet in Part D, Figuring and Claiming the EIC. You qualify for the credit if you meet all the rules in each part that applies to you.
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Table 36-1, Earned Income Credit in a Nutshell.(p239)


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Table 36-1, Earned Income Credit in a Nutshell.

Use Table 36-1 as a guide to Parts A, B, C, and D. The table is a summary of all the rules in each part.
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Do you have a qualifying child?(p239)


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You have a qualifying child only if you have a child who meets the three tests described in Rule 8 and illustrated in Figure 36-1.
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If Improper Claim  
Made in Prior Year(p239)


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Improper Claim Made in Prior Year

If your EIC for any year after 1996 was denied or reduced for any reason other than a math or clerical error, you must attach a completed Form 8862 to your next tax return to claim the EIC. You must also qualify to claim the EIC by meeting all the rules described in this chapter.
However, if your EIC was denied or reduced as a result of a math or clerical error, do not attach Form 8862 to your next tax return. For example, if your arithmetic is incorrect, the IRS can correct it. If you do not provide a correct social security number, the IRS can deny the EIC. These kinds of errors are called math or clerical errors.
If your EIC for any year after 1996 was denied and it was determined that your error was due to reckless or intentional disregard of the EIC rules, then you cannot claim the EIC for the next 2 years. If your error was due to fraud, then you cannot claim the EIC for the next 10 years.
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More information.(p239)


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See chapter 5 in Publication 596 for more detailed information about the disallowance period and Form 8862.
previous pagePrevious Page: Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Tax - Information for Only the Lifetime Learning Credit
next pageNext Page: Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Tax - Part A. Rules for Everyone
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication