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Publication 596

Is There Help Online?(p4)

Yes. You can use the EITC Assistant at to find out if you may be eligible for the credit. The EITC Assistant is available in English and Spanish.

What's New for 2011(p4)


New developments.(p4)

The IRS has created a page on for information about Publication 596 at Information about any future developments affecting Publication 596 (such as legislation enacted after we release it) will be posted on that page.

Earned income amount is more.(p4)

The maximum amount of income you can earn and still get the credit has increased. You may be able to take the credit if: Your adjusted gross income also must be less than the amount in the above list that applies to you. For details, see Rules 1 and 15.

Investment income amount is more.(p5)

The maximum amount of investment income you can have and still get the credit has increased to $3,150. See Rule 6.

Form 8867 as attachment.(p5)

Starting with the 2011 tax year, if your income tax return is prepared by a paid preparer, Form 8867, Paid Preparer's Earned Income Credit Checklist, must be attached to your income tax return when you file it. For more information, see Form 8867.



Advance earned income credit no longer allowed.(p5)

You can no longer get advance payments of the credit in your pay during the year as you could in 2010 and earlier years. This is because the law has changed. However, if you are eligible, you will still be able to claim the credit on your return, as explained in this publication.

Increased EIC on certain joint returns.(p5)

A married person filing a joint return may get more EIC than someone with the same income but a different filing status. As a result, the EIC table has different columns for married persons filing jointly than for everyone else. When you look up your EIC in the EIC Table, be sure to use the correct column for your filing status and the number of children you have.

Earned income credit has no effect on certain welfare benefits.(p5)

Any refund you receive because of the EIC cannot be counted as income when determining whether 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 the following.
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.

Do not overlook your state credit.(p5)

If you can claim the EIC on your federal income tax return, you may be able to take a similar credit on your state or local income tax return. For a list of states that offer a state EIC, go to

EIC questioned by IRS.(p5)

The IRS may ask you to provide documents to prove you are entitled to claim the EIC. We will tell you what documents to send us. These may include: birth certificates, school records, medical records, etc. We will also send you a letter with the name, address, and telephone number of the IRS employee assigned to your case. The process of establishing your eligibility will delay your refund.

Spanish version of Publication 596.(p5)

You can order Publicación 596SP, Crédito por Ingreso del Trabajo, from the IRS. It is a Spanish translation of Publication 596. See How To Get Tax Help in the Appendix to find out how to order this and other IRS forms and publications.

Photographs of missing children.(p5)

The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

Comments and suggestions.(p6)

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Individual Forms and Publications Branch
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224

We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.
You can email us at Please put "Publications Comment" on the subject line. You can also send us comments from Select "Comment on Tax Forms and Publications" under "Information about."
Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.
Ordering forms and publications.(p6)
Visit to download forms and publications, call 1-800-829-3676, or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

Internal Revenue Service
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613

Tax questions.(p6)
If you have a tax question, check the information available on or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.