skip navigation

Search Help
Navigation Help

Topic Index

Tax Topics

About Tax Map Website
Instructions for Form 1040-EZ

Definitions and Special Rules(p16)

(listed in alphabetical order)
Claim for refund.(p16)
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 earned income credit or any other similar refundable credit is claimed on it.
Combat pay, nontaxable.(p16)
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 each can make your own election.
Credit figured by the IRS.(p16)
To have the IRS figure your EIC:
  1. Enter EIC in the space to the left of line 8a on Form 1040EZ.
  2. Be sure you enter the nontaxable combat pay you elect to include in earned income on Form 1040EZ, line 8b. See Combat pay, nontaxable, earlier.
  3. If your EIC for a year after 1996 was reduced or disallowed, see Form 8862, who must file, below.
Exception to time lived with you.(p16)
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 lived with you. A child is considered to have lived with you for all of 2011 if the child was born or died in 2011 and your home was this child's home for the entire time he or she was alive in 2011. Special rules apply to members of the military (see Members of the military below) or if the child was kidnapped (see Pub. 596).
Form 8862, who must file.(p16)
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.
  1. You filed Form 8862 for another year, the EIC was allowed for that year, and your EIC has not been reduced or disallowed again for any reason other than a math or clerical error.
  2. The only reason your EIC was reduced or disallowed in the earlier year was because it was determined that a child listed on Schedule EIC was not your qualifying child.
Also, do not file Form 8862 or take the credit for:
Members of the military.(p16)
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.
Permanently and totally disabled.(p16)
A person is permanently and totally disabled if, at any time in 2011, the person could not engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition and a doctor has determined that this condition has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year or can be expected to lead to death.
Social security number (SSN).(p16)
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 Social Security Number (SSN), earlier. If you will not have an SSN by the date your return is due, see What if You Cannot File on Time? in Section 4, later.
A student is a child who during any part of 5 calendar months of 2011 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 a school offering courses only through the Internet.
Welfare benefits, effect of credit on.(p16)
Any refund you receive as a result of taking the EIC cannot be counted as income when determining if you or anyone else is eligible for benefits or assistance, or how much you or anyone else can receive, under any federal program or under any state or local program financed in whole or in part with federal funds. These programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). In addition, when determining eligibility, the refund cannot be counted as a resource for at least 12 months after you receive it. Check with your local benefit coordinator to find out if your refund will affect your benefits.