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previous page Previous Page: Publication 3 - Armed Forces' Tax Guide - Itemized Deductions
next page Next Page: Publication 3 - Armed Forces' Tax Guide - Forgiveness of Decedent's Tax Liability
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096040

Credits(p14)


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previous topic occurrence Credits next topic occurrence

After you have figured your taxable income and tax liability, you can determine if you are entitled to any tax credits. This publication discusses the child tax credit, the earned income credit, and the credit for excess social security tax withheld. For information on other credits, see your tax form instructions.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096041

Child Tax Credit(p14)


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The child tax credit is a credit that may reduce your tax by as much as $1,000 for each of your qualifying children.
The additional child tax credit is a credit you may be able to take if you are not able to claim the full amount of the child tax credit.
EIC
The child tax credit is not the same as the credit for child and dependent care expenses. See Publication 503 for information on the credit for child and dependent care expenses.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096043

Qualifying Child(p14)


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previous topic occurrence Qualifying Child next topic occurrence

A qualifying child for purposes of the child tax credit is a child who:
  1. Is your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild),
  2. Was under age 17 at the end of 2008,
  3. Did not provide over half of his or her own support for 2008,
  4. Lived with you for more than half of 2008 (see Exceptions to time lived with you below), and
  5. Was a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or a resident of the United States. If the child was adopted, see Adopted child later.
For each qualifying child you must either check the box on Form 1040 or Form 1040A, line 6c, column (4), or complete Form 8901, Information on Qualifying Children Who Are Not Dependents (if the child is not your dependent).
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096044

Exceptions to time lived with you.(p14)


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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. Temporary absences for special circumstances, such as for school, vacation, medical care, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility, count as time lived at home.
There are also exceptions for kidnapped children and children of divorced or separated parents. For details, see Publication 501.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096045

Qualifying child of more than one person.(p14)


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A special rule applies if your qualifying child is the qualifying child of more than one person. For details, see Publication 501.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096046

Adopted child.(p14)


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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.
If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. national and your adopted child lived with you as a member of your household all year, that child meets condition (5) above to be a qualifying child for the child tax credit.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096047

Amount of Credit(p14)


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The maximum amount you can claim for the credit is $1,000 for each qualifying child.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096048

Limits on the credit.(p14)


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You must reduce your child tax credit if either (1) or (2), below, applies.
  1. The amount on Form 1040, line 46, or Form 1040A, line 28, is less than the credit. If the amount is zero, you cannot take this credit because there is no tax to reduce. However, you may be able to take the additional child tax credit. See Additional Child Tax Credit, later.
  2. Your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is more than the amount shown below for your filing status.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096049

Modified AGI.(p14)
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For purposes of the child tax credit, your modified AGI is the amount on Form 1040, line 38, or Form 1040A, line 22, plus the following amounts that may apply to you.
If you do not have any of the above, your modified AGI is the same as your AGI.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096050

Claiming the Credit(p15)


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To claim the child tax credit, you must file Form 1040 or Form 1040A. For more information on the child tax credit, see the instructions for Form 1040 or Form 1040A.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096051

Additional Child Tax Credit(p15)


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previous topic occurrence Additional Child Tax Credit next topic occurrence

This credit is for certain individuals who get less than the full amount of the child tax credit. The additional child tax credit may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax.
For more information, see the instructions for Form 1040 or Form 1040A, and Form 8812, Additional Child Tax Credit.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096052

Earned Income Credit(p15)


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The earned income credit (EIC) is a credit for certain persons who work. The credit reduces the amount of tax you owe (if any). It may also give you a refund.
EIC
If you claim the EIC and it is later disallowed, you may have to complete an additional form if you want to claim the credit in a following year. See chapter 5 in Publication 596 for more information, including how to claim the EIC after disallowance.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096054

Persons With a Qualifying Child(p15)


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Persons With a Qualifying Child

If you have a qualifying child (defined later), you must meet all the following rules to claim the earned income credit.
  1. You must have earned income (defined later).
  2. Your earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than:
    1. $38,646 ($41,646 for married filing jointly) if you have two or more qualifying children, or
    2. $33,995 ($36,995 for married filing jointly) if you have one qualifying child.
  3. Your filing status cannot be married filing separately.
  4. You cannot be a qualifying child of another person. If filing a joint return, your spouse also cannot be a qualifying child of another person.
  5. Your qualifying child cannot be used by more than one person to claim the credit. If your qualifying child is the qualifying child of more than one person, you must be the person who can treat the child as a qualifying child. For details, see Rule 9 in Publication 596.
  6. You cannot file Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income, or Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, to exclude income earned in foreign countries, or to deduct or exclude a foreign housing amount. See Publication 54 for more information about these forms.
  7. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year unless:
    1. You are married to a U.S. citizen or a resident alien, and
    2. You choose to be treated as a resident alien for the entire year. If you need more information about making this choice, see Resident Aliens, earlier.
  8. Your investment income must be $2,950 or less during the year. For most people, investment income is taxable interest and dividends, tax-exempt interest, and capital gain net income.
  9. You must have a valid social security number for yourself, your spouse (if filing a joint return), and any qualifying child.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096055

How to report.(p15)


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If you meet all these rules, fill out Schedule EIC and attach it to either Form 1040 or Form 1040A.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096056

Qualifying child.(p15)


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Your child is a qualifying child if your child meets three tests. The three tests are:
  1. Relationship,
  2. Age, and
  3. Residency.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096057

Relationship test.(p15)
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To be your qualifying child, a child must be your:
An adopted child is always treated as your own child. The term "adopted child" includes a child who was lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
For the EIC, a person is your eligible foster child if the child is placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgement, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction. An authorized placement agency includes a state or local government agency. It also includes a tax-exempt organization licensed by a state. In addition, it includes an Indian tribal government or an organization authorized by an Indian tribal government to place Indian children.
If your child was married at the end of the year, he or she does not meet the relationship test unless either of these two situations applies to you:
  1. You can claim the child's exemption, or
  2. The reason you cannot claim the child's exemption is that you gave that right to your child's other parent under the Special rule for divorced or separated parents, described in chapter 2 of Publication 596.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096058

Age test.(p16)
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Your child must be:
  1. Under age 19 at the end of 2008,
  2. Under age 24 at the end of 2008 and a full-time student, or
  3. Permanently and totally disabled at any time during 2008, regardless of age.
A full-time student is a student who is enrolled for the number of hours or courses the school considers to be full-time attendance.
To qualify as a student, your child must be, during some part of each of any 5 calendar months during the calendar year:
  1. A full-time student at a school that has a regular teaching staff, course of study, and regular student body at the school, or
  2. A student taking a full-time, on-farm training course given by a school described in (1), or a state, county, or local government.
The 5 calendar months need not be consecutive.
A school can be an elementary school, junior or senior high school, college, university, or technical, trade, or mechanical school. However, on-the-job training courses, correspondence schools, and schools offering courses only through the Internet do not count as schools for the EIC.
Students who work in co-op jobs in private industry as a part of a school's regular course of classroom and practical training are considered full-time students.
Your child is permanently and totally disabled if both of the following apply.
  1. He or she cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition.
  2. A doctor determines the condition has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year or can lead to death.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096059

Residency test.(p16)
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Your child must have lived with you in the United States for more than half of 2008.
The United States includes the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It does not include Puerto Rico or U.S. possessions such as Guam.
U.S. military personnel stationed outside the United States on extended active duty are considered to live in the United States during that duty period for purposes of the EIC. Extended active duty means you are called or ordered to duty for an indefinite period or for a period of more than 90 days. Once you begin serving your extended active duty, you are still considered to have been on extended active duty even if you do not serve more than 90 days.
A child who was born or died in 2008 is treated as having lived with you for all of 2008 if your home was the child's home the entire time he or she was alive in 2008.
Count time that you or your child is away from home on a temporary absence due to a special circumstance as time lived with you.
A kidnapped child is treated as living with you for more than half of the year if the child lived with you for more than half the part of the year before the date of the kidnapping. The child must be presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by someone who is not a member of your family or your child's family. This treatment applies for all years until the child is returned. However, the last year this treatment can apply is the earlier of:
  1. The year there is a determination that the child is dead, or
  2. The year the child would have reached age 18.
If your qualifying child has been kidnapped and meets these requirements, enter "KC," instead of a number, on line 6 of Schedule EIC.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096060

Social security number.(p16)
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Your qualifying child must have a valid social security number (SSN) unless the child was born and died in 2008. You cannot claim the EIC on the basis of a qualifying child if:
  1. Your qualifying child's SSN is missing from your tax return or is incorrect,
  2. Your qualifying child's social security card says "Not valid for employment" and was issued for use in getting a federally funded benefit, or
  3. Instead of an SSN, your qualifying child has
    1. An individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), which is issued to a noncitizen who cannot get an SSN, or
    2. An adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN), which is issued to adopting parents who cannot get an SSN for the child being adopted until the adoption is final.
If you have two qualifying children and only one has a valid SSN, you can claim the EIC only on the basis of that one child.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096061

More information.(p17)


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For more information, see Publication 596.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096062

Persons Without a Qualifying Child(p17)


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Persons Without a Qualifying Child

If you do not have a qualifying child, you can take the credit if you meet all the following rules.
  1. You must have earned income (defined later).
  2. Your earned income and adjusted gross income must each be less than $12,880 ($15,880 for married filing jointly).
  3. Your filing status cannot be married filing separately.
  4. You cannot be a qualifying child of another person. If filing a joint return, your spouse also cannot be a qualifying child of another person.
  5. You must be at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of the year. If filing a joint return, either you or your spouse must be at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of the year.
  6. You cannot be claimed as a dependent by anyone else on that person's return. If filing a joint return, your spouse also cannot be claimed as a dependent by anyone else on that person's return.
  7. Your main home must be in the United States for more than half the year. (U.S. military personnel stationed outside the United States on extended active duty are considered to live in the United States.)
  8. You cannot file Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income, or Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.
  9. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year unless:
    1. You are married to a U.S. citizen or a resident alien, and
    2. You choose to be treated as a resident alien for the entire year.
  10. Your investment income must be $2,950 or less during the year. For most people, investment income is taxable interest and dividends, tax-exempt interest, and capital gain net income.
  11. You (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) must have a valid social security number.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096063

How to report.(p17)


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If you meet all of these rules, fill out the EIC worksheet in your tax form instructions to figure the amount of your credit.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096064

More information.(p17)


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For more information, see Publication 596.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096065

Earned Income(p17)


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For purposes of the earned income credit, earned income includes the following.
For purposes of the earned income credit, earned income does not include:
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink1000121380

Nontaxable combat pay election.(p17)


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You can elect to have your nontaxable combat pay included in earned income for the earned income credit. If you make the election, you must include in earned income all nontaxable combat pay you received. If you are filing a joint return and both you and your spouse received nontaxable combat pay, you can each make your own election. The amount of your nontaxable combat pay should be shown on your Form W-2 in box 12 with code Q. Electing to include nontaxable combat pay in earned income may increase or decrease your EIC.
Figure the credit with and without your nontaxable combat pay before making the election. Whether the election increases or decreases your EIC depends on your total earned income, filing status, and number of qualifying children. If your earned income without your combat pay is less than the amount shown below for your number of children, you may benefit from electing to include your nontaxable combat pay in earned income and you should figure the credit both ways. If your earned income without your combat pay is equal to or more than these amounts, you will not benefit from including your combat pay in your earned income.
The following examples illustrate the effect of including nontaxable combat pay in earned income for the EIC.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink1000121381

Example 1—election increases the EIC.(p18)

George and Janice are married and will file a joint return. They have one qualifying child. George was in the Army and earned $11,000 ($5,000 taxable wages + $6,000 nontaxable combat pay). Janice worked part of the year and earned $2,000. Their taxable earned income and AGI are both $7,000. George and Janice qualify for the earned income credit and fill out the Earned Income Credit (EIC) Worksheet in the Form 1040A instructions and Schedule EIC.
When they complete the worksheet without adding the nontaxable combat pay to their earned income, they find their credit to be $2,389. When they complete the EIC worksheet with the nontaxable combat pay added to their earned income, they find their credit to be $2,917. Because making the election will increase their EIC, they elect to add the nontaxable combat pay to their earned income for the EIC. They enter $2,917 on line 40a of their Form 1040A and enter the amount of their nontaxable combat pay on line 40b.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink1000121382

Example 2—election does not increase the EIC.(p18)

The facts are the same as in Example 1 except George had nontaxable combat pay of $16,000. When George and Janice add their nontaxable combat pay to their earned income, they find their credit to be $2,232. Because the credit they can get if they do not add the nontaxable combat pay to their earned income is $2,389, they decide not to make the election. They enter $2,389 on line 40a of their Form 1040A.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096066

IRS Will Figure Your Credit for You(p18)


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There are certain instructions you must follow before the IRS can figure the credit for you. See IRS Will Figure the EIC for You, in Publication 596.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096067

Advance Earned Income Credit(p18)


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If you expect to qualify for the earned income credit for 2009, you can choose to get part of the credit in advance by giving a completed 2009 Form W-5 to your appropriate finance office. The credit will be included regularly in your pay. To get this advance payment, you must have a qualifying child. For details, see Form W-5 and its instructions
If you received advance earned income credit payments in 2008, you must file either Form 1040 or Form 1040A for 2008 to report the payments.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096068

Credit for Excess Social Security Tax Withheld(p18)


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Credit for Excess Social Security Tax Withheld

Most employers must withhold social security tax from your wages. If you worked for two or more employers in 2008 and you earned more than $102,000, you may have had too much social security tax withheld. The maximum amount of social security tax that should have been withheld for 2008 is $6,324.00. You can claim the excess social security tax as a credit against your income tax.
EIC
All wages are subject to Medicare tax withholding.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096070

Railroad employer.(p18)


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If you work for a railroad employer, that employer must withhold tier 1 railroad retirement (RRTA) tax and tier 2 RRTA tax. See Excess Social Security or Railroad Retirement Tax Withholding in chapter 3 of Publication 505 for more information.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096071

Employer's error.(p18)


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If any one employer withheld too much social security tax, you cannot take the excess as a credit against your income tax. The employer should adjust the tax for you. If the employer does not adjust the overcollection, you can file a claim for refund using Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096072

Joint return.(p18)


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If you are filing a joint return, you cannot add the social security tax withheld from your spouse's wages to the amount withheld from your wages. Figure the withholding separately for you and your spouse to determine if either of you has excess withholding.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096073

How to figure the credit.(p18)


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Figure the credit as follows:
1.Add all social security tax withheld (but not more than $6,324.00 for each employer). Enter the total here            
2.Enter any uncollected social security tax on wages, tips, or group-term life insurance included in the total on Form 1040, line 61             
3.Add lines 1 and 2. If $6,324.00 or less, stop here. You cannot take the credit            
4.Social security tax limit6,324.00
5.Credit. Subtract line 4 from line 3. Enter the result here and on Form 1040, line 65 (or Form 1040A, line 43)            
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096074

How to take the credit.(p18)


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Enter the credit on Form 1040, line 65, or include it in the total for Form 1040A, line 43.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096075

Recovery Rebate Credit(p18)


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If you did not receive the maximum economic stimulus payment in 2008, you may be able to take this credit. Use the worksheet in the instructions for your tax return to determine if you can take the credit.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink100096076

Nontaxable combat pay election.(p18)


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You can elect to have your nontaxable combat pay included in your qualifying income when figuring the recovery rebate credit. Enter the amount you elect to include on the appropriate line of the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet in the instructions for your tax return. If you are filing a joint return and both you and your spouse received nontaxable combat pay, you can each make your own election. The amount of your nontaxable combat pay should be shown on your Form W-2 in box 12 with code Q. Electing to include nontaxable combat pay in earned income may increase or decrease your recovery rebate credit.
previous pagePrevious Page: Publication 3 - Armed Forces' Tax Guide - Itemized Deductions
next pageNext Page: Publication 3 - Armed Forces' Tax Guide - Forgiveness of Decedent's Tax Liability
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication