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Publication 596

Chapter 1
Rules for Everyone

For Use in Tax Year 2014

This chapter discusses Rules 1 through 7. You must meet all seven rules to qualify for the earned income credit. If you do not meet all seven rules, you cannot get the credit and you do not need to read the rest of the publication.
If you meet all seven rules in this chapter, then read either chapter 2 or chapter 3 (whichever applies) for more rules you must meet.

Rule 1—Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Limits

For Use in Tax Year 2014
Your adjusted gross income (AGI) must be less than:

Adjusted gross income (AGI).

For Use in Tax Year 2014
AGI is the amount on line 4 of Form 1040EZ, line 22 of Form 1040A, or line 38 of Form 1040.
If your AGI is equal to or more than the applicable limit listed above, you cannot claim the EIC. You do not need to read the rest of this publication.

Example—AGI is more than limit.

Your AGI is $38,550, you are single, and you have one qualifying child. You cannot claim the EIC because your AGI is not less than $38,511. However, if your filing status was married filing jointly, you might be able to claim the EIC because your AGI is less than $43,941.

Community property.

For Use in Tax Year 2014
If you are married, but qualify to file as head of household under special rules for married taxpayers living apart (see Rule 3), and live in a state that has community property laws, your AGI includes that portion of both your and your spouse's wages that you are required to include in gross income. This is different from the community property rules that apply under Rule 7.