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IRS.gov Website
Instructions for Form 1040-A
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP06c0ada4

Lines 41a and 41b—Earned Income Credit (EIC)(p37)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP5a9bf4d6

What is the EIC?(p37)

rule
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.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP012872d9

To Take the EIC:(p37)

rule
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 39. You may also have to pay penalties.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP42fbc5d4

 Step 1   All Filers

1.  If, in 2010:
  3 or more children lived with you, is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $43,352 ($48,362 if married filing jointly)?
  2 children lived with you, is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $40,363 ($45,373 if married filing jointly)?
  1 child lived with you, is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $35,535 ($40,545 if married filing jointly)?
  No children lived with you, is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $13,460 ($18,470 if married filing jointly)?
Yes.  Continue...
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 40)?
Yes.  Continue...
No. Stop.  You cannot take the credit. Enter No to the left of the entry space for line 41a.
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 2010?
Yes.  See Nonresident aliens on page 40.
No.  Go to Step 2.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP642c06a2

 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 $3,100?
Yes. Stop.  You cannot take the credit.
No.  Go to Step 3.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP44752de8

 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, half brother, half sister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew),
and
was ...
Under age 19 at the end of 2010 and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly)
or
Under age 24 at the end of 2010, a student (see page 40), and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly)
or
Any age and permanently and totally disabled (see page 40)
and
Who is not filing a joint return for 2010 or is filing a joint return for 2010 only as a claim for refund (see page 39)
and
Who lived with you in the United States for more than half
of 2010.
If the child did not live with you for the
required time, see Exception to time lived with you on
page 39.
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 2010, or the child was married, see page 40.
 
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 (SSN) as defined on page 40 unless the child was born and died in 2010. If at least one qualifying child has a valid SSN (or was born or died in 2010), go to question 2. Otherwise, you cannot take the credit.
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 2010?
Yes. Stop.  You cannot take the credit. Enter No to the left of the entry space for line 41a.
No.  Skip Step 4; go to Step 5 on page 39.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP1184b79b

 Step 4   Filers Without a Qualifying Child

1.  Is the amount on Form 1040A, line 22, less than $13,460 ($18,470 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 2010?
Yes. Stop.  You cannot take the credit. Enter No to the left of the entry space for line 41a.
No.  Continue...
3.  Were you, or your spouse if filing a joint return, at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of 2010? If your spouse died in 2010, see Pub. 596 before you answer.
Yes.  Continue...
No. Stop.  You cannot take the credit.
4.  Was your main home, and your spouse's if filing a joint return, in the United States for more than half of 2010? Members of the military stationed outside the United States, see page 40 before you answer.
Yes.  Continue...
No. Stop.  You cannot take the credit. Enter No to the left of the entry space for line 41a.
5.  Are you filing a joint return?
Yes.  Skip question 6; go to Step 5 on page 39.
No.  Continue...
6.  Can you be claimed as a dependent on someone else's 2010 tax return?
Yes. Stop.  You cannot take the credit.
No.  Go to Step 5 on page 39.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP66365427

 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 box 11 of Form W-2. 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 41b. 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 = box2
  
2.  If you have:
  3 or more qualifying children, is your earned income less than $43,352 ($48,362 if married filing jointly)?
  2 qualifying children, is your earned income less than $40,363 ($45,373 if married filing jointly)?
  1 qualifying child, is your earned income less than $35,535 ($40,545 if married filing jointly)?
  No qualifying children, is your earned income less than $13,460 ($18,470 if married filing jointly)?
Yes.  Go to Step 6.
No. Stop.  You cannot take the credit.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP34cc3b45

 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 later.
No.  Go to the worksheet on page 41.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP1bb46aa5

Definitions and Special Rules(p39)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP71171d05
Adopted child.(p39)
rule
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-016.htm#TXMP7ab34f98
Claim for refund.(p39)
rule
A claim for refund is a return filed only to get a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid. A return is not a claim for refund if the making work pay credit, earned income credit, or any similar refundable credit is claimed on it.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP0aa0ed22
Combat pay, nontaxable.(p39)
rule
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-016.htm#TXMP5544e3c9
Credit figured by the IRS.(p39)
rule
To have the IRS figure your EIC:
  1. Enter EIC to the left of the entry space for Form 1040A, 
    line 41a.
  2. Be sure you enter the nontaxable combat pay you elect to include in earned income on Form 1040A, line 41b. See Combat pay, nontaxable 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 Form 8862, who must file later.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP078f7d10
Exception to time lived with you.(p39)
rule
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 18 or Members of the military on page 40. A child is considered to have lived with you for all of 2010 if the child was born or died in 2010 and your home was this child's home for the entire time he or she was alive in 2010.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP384c2aaf
Form 8862, who must file.(p39)
rule
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-016.htm#TXMP21a230f5
Foster child.(p40)
rule
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-016.htm#TXMP2d908bf7
Married child.(p40)
rule
A child who was married at the end of 2010 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 17.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP7b109a56
Members of the military.(p40)
rule
If you were on extended active duty outside the United States, your main 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-016.htm#TXMP7375c1a9
Nonresident aliens.(p40)
rule
If your filing status is married filing jointly, go to Step 2 on page 37. Otherwise, stop; you cannot take the EIC. Enter No to the left of the entry space for line 41a.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP5cd90c65
Permanently and totally disabled.(p40)
rule
A person is permanently and totally disabled if, at any time in 2010, 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-016.htm#TXMP7612c8d1
Qualifying child of more than one person.(p40)
rule
Even if a child meets the conditions to be 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 17 applies.
  1. Dependency exemption (line 6c).
  2. Child tax credits (lines 33 and 42).
  3. Head of household filing status (line 4).
  4. Credit for child and dependent care expenses (line 29).
  5. Exclusion for dependent care benefits (Form 2441, Part III).
  6. Earned income credit (lines 41a and 41b).
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 can claim the child as a qualifying child, the following rules apply.

Example.(p40)

Your daughter meets the conditions to be a qualifying child for both you and your mother. Your daughter does not meet the conditions to be the qualifying child of any other person, including her other parent. Under the rules above, you can claim your daughter as a qualifying child for all of the six tax benefits previously listed for which you otherwise qualify. Your mother cannot claim any of those six tax benefits unless she has a different qualifying child. However, if your mother's AGI is higher than yours and the other parent's and you do not claim your daughter as a qualifying child, your daughter is the qualifying child of your mother.
For more details and examples, see Pub. 596.
If you will not be taking the EIC with a qualifying child, enter No to the left of the entry space for line 41a. Otherwise, go to Step 3, question 1, on page 38.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-016.htm#TXMP3197e7f7
Social security number (SSN).(p40)
rule
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 19. 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-016.htm#TXMP40ab1333
Student.(p40)
rule
A student is a child who during any part of 5 calendar months of 2010 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-016.htm#TXMP7d355343
Welfare benefits, effect of credit on.(p40)
rule
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.