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Frequently Asked Tax Questions

Earned Income Tax Credit - Qualifying Child Rules

  1. My child was born and only lived 40 minutes. Can she be used as a qualifying child when figuring the earned income credit and the child tax credit?
  2. Must I be entitled to claim a child as a dependent to claim the earned income credit based on the child being my qualifying child?
  3. If the noncustodial parent receives permission from the custodial parent to claim a child on his or her tax return, is the noncustodial parent eligible for the earned income credit?
  4. My wife and I have two children and we are going to file separate returns this year. Can we each claim one child for the earned income credit?

Rev. date: 1/29/2010

My child was born and only lived 40 minutes. Can she be used as a qualifying child when figuring the earned income credit and the child tax credit?

Normally, to be a qualifying child for earned income credit and meet the residency test, your child must have lived with you for more than half of the tax year. For earned income credit purposes, even if your child was not alive for more than half of the year, the child is considered to meet the test as if the child lived with you for the entire time he or she was alive during the year.
If your child was born alive and died during the same year, and the exemption tests are met, you can take the full exemption.

Rev. date: 1/1/2011

Must I be entitled to claim a child as a dependent to claim the earned income credit based on the child being my qualifying child?

You do not have to be entitled to claim the child as a dependent to claim the earned income credit based on the child being your qualifying child. However, the child cannot file a joint return for the year except as a claim for refund. Even if your child does not file a joint return, if  your child was married at the end of the year, he or she cannot be qualifying child unless:

• you  can claim an exemption for the child, or
• The reason you cannot claim an exemption for the child is because you released a claim to a dependency exemption for the child under the special rule for divorced or separated parents or parents who live apart.
For more information, refer to:
Qualifying Child, in Publication 596, Earned Income Credit.

Rev. date: 1/1/2011

If the noncustodial parent receives permission from the custodial parent to claim a child on his or her tax return, is the noncustodial parent eligible for the earned income credit?

No. The noncustodial parent cannot claim the earned income credit on the basis of that child because the child did not live with that parent for more than half of the tax year, and therefore does not meet the residency test.

Rev. date: 1/1/2011

My wife and I have two children and we are going to file separate returns this year. Can we each claim one child for the earned income credit?

No. In order to qualify for the earned income credit, your filing status cannot be married filing separately.
 The earned income credit has increased. If you have two qualifying children your Adjusted gross income must less than $40,295 ($45,295 if married filing jointly)  this is the new amount.