skip navigation

Search Help
Navigation Help

Tax Map Index
ABCDEFGHI
JKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ#

International
Tax Topic Index

Affordable Care Act
Tax Topic Index

FAQs
Forms
Publications
Tax Topics

Comments
About Tax Map

IRS.gov Website
Publication 596
taxmap/pubs/p596-002.htm#en_us_publink1000297446

Rule 2—You Must Have a Valid Social Security Number (SSN)

rule
To claim the EIC, you (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) must have a valid SSN issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Any qualifying child listed on Schedule EIC also must have a valid SSN. (See Rule 8 if you have a qualifying child.)
If your social security card (or your spouse's, if filing a joint return) says "Not valid for employment" and your SSN was issued so that you (or your spouse) could get a federally funded benefit, you cannot get the EIC. An example of a federally funded benefit is Medicaid. If you have a card with the legend "Not valid for employment" and your immigration status has changed so that you are now a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, ask the SSA for a new social security card without the legend. If you get the new card after you have already filed your return, you can file an amended return on Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to claim the EIC.
taxmap/pubs/p596-002.htm#en_us_publink1000297353
U.S. citizen.
If you were a U.S. citizen when you received your SSN, you have a valid SSN.
taxmap/pubs/p596-002.htm#en_us_publink1000297354
Valid for work only with INS authorization or DHS authorization.
If your social security card reads "Valid for work only with INS authorization" or "Valid for work only with DHS authorization," you have a valid SSN, but only if that authorization is still valid.
taxmap/pubs/p596-002.htm#en_us_publink1000297355
SSN missing or incorrect.
If an SSN for you or your spouse is missing from your tax return or is incorrect, you may not get the EIC.
taxmap/pubs/p596-002.htm#en_us_publink1000297356

Other taxpayer identification number.

rule
You cannot get the EIC if, instead of an SSN, you (or your spouse, if filing a joint return) have an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). ITINs are issued by the Internal Revenue Service to noncitizens who cannot get an SSN.
taxmap/pubs/p596-002.htm#en_us_publink1000297357

No SSN.

rule
If you do not have a valid SSN, put "No" next to line 66a (Form 1040), line 42a (Form 1040A), or line 8a (Form 1040EZ). You cannot claim the EIC.
taxmap/pubs/p596-002.htm#en_us_publink1000297358
Getting an SSN.
If you (or your spouse, if filing a joint return) do not have an SSN, you can apply for one by filing Form SS-5 with the SSA. You can get Form SS-5 online at www.socialsecurity.gov, from your local SSA office, or by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213.
taxmap/pubs/p596-002.htm#en_us_publink1000297359
Filing deadline approaching and still no SSN.
If the filing deadline is approaching and you still do not have an SSN, you have two choices.
  1. Request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file your return. You can get this extension by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. For more information, see the instructions for Form 4868.
  2. File the return on time without claiming the EIC. After receiving the SSN, file an amended return, Form 1040X, claiming the EIC. Attach a filled-in Schedule EIC, Earned Income Credit, if you have a qualifying child.