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IRS.gov Website
taxmap/wpubs/p596-000.htm#en_us_publink1000167167
Publication 596

taxmap/wpubs/p596-000.htm#TXMP0367b33d
Earned Income Credit (EIC)

rule

Introduction– Begin Here

taxmap/wpubs/p596-000.htm#TXMP7675899d
What is the EIC?(p3)

The earned income credit (EIC) is a tax credit for certain people who work and have earned income under $49,078. 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/wpubs/p596-000.htm#en_us_publink1000167170

Can I Claim the EIC?(p3)

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To claim the EIC, you must meet certain rules. These rules are summarized in Table 1.
Table 1. Earned Income Credit in a Nutshell
First, you must meet all the rules in this column.Second, you must meet all the rules in one of these columns, whichever applies.Third, you must meet the rule in this column.
Chapter 1.
Rules for Everyone
Chapter 2.
Rules If You Have a Qualifying Child
Chapter 3.
Rules If You Do Not Have a Qualifying Child
Chapter 4.
Figuring and Claiming the EIC
  1. Your
adjusted gross income (AGI) must be less than:
• $43,998
($49,078 for married filing jointly) if you have three or more qualifying children,

• $40,964
($46,044 for married filing jointly) if you have two qualifying children,

• $36,052 ($41,132 for married filing jointly) if you have one qualifying child, or

• $13,660 ($18,740 for married filing jointly) if you do not have a qualifying child.
 2. You must have a valid social security number.
 3. Your filing status cannot be "Married filing separately." 
 4. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year.
 5. You cannot file Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ (relating to foreign earned income). 
 6. Your investment income must be $3,150 or less.  
 7. You must have earned income.
 8. Your child must meet the relationship, age, residency, and joint return tests. 
 9. Your qualifying child cannot be used by more than one person to claim the EIC.  
 10. You cannot be a qualifying child of another person.
 11. You must be at least age 25 but under age 65.
 12. You cannot be the dependent of another person.
 13. You cannot be a qualifying child of another person.
 14. You must have lived in the United States more than half of the year.
  15. Your earned income must be less than:
• $43,998
($49,078 for married filing jointly) if you have three or more qualifying children,

• $40,964
($46,044 for married filing jointly) if you have two qualifying children,

• $36,052
($41,132 for married filing jointly) if you have one qualifying child, or

• $13,660 ($18,740 for married filing jointly) if you do not have a qualifying child.