skip navigation
Search Help
Navigation Help

Tax Map Index
ABCDEFGHI
JKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ#

International
Tax Topic Index

Affordable Care Act
Tax Topic Index

Exempt Organization
Tax Topic Index

FAQs
Forms
Publications
Tax Topics
Worksheets

Comments
About Tax Map

IRS.gov Website
Publication 3
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176264

Credits(p18)

rule
After you have figured your taxable income and tax liability, you can determine if you are entitled to any tax credits. This section discusses the Child Tax Credit, Additional Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Credit, and Credit for Excess Social Security Tax Withheld. For information on other credits, see your tax form instructions.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176265

Child Tax Credit(p18)

rule
The child tax credit is a credit that may reduce your tax by as much as $1,000 for each of your qualifying children. See How Much Can I Claim As a Child Tax Credit, later.
The additional child tax credit is a credit you may be able to take if you are not able to claim the full amount of the child tax credit. The additional child tax credit is discussed later.
EIC
The child tax credit is not the same as the credit for child and dependent care expenses. See Pub. 503 for information on the credit for child and dependent care expenses.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink100049993

Can I claim the child tax credit if I don't have an SSN or ITIN?(p19)

rule
If you don't have an SSN or ITIN by the due date of your 2016 return (including extensions), you can't claim the child tax credit on either your original or an amended 2016 return, even if you later get an SSN (or ITIN).
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176267

Is My Child a Qualifying Child?(p19)

rule
Your child is a qualifying child for purposes of the child tax credit if your child meets all seven of the following conditions.
  1. Is your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew).
  2. Was under age 17 at the end of 2016.
  3. Did not provide over half of his or her own support for 2016.
  4. Lived with you for more than half of 2016 (but see Are there exceptions to the time lived with you requirement, later).
  5. Is claimed as a dependent on your return.
  6. Does not file a joint return for the year (or files it only as a claim for refund).
  7. Was a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or a U.S. resident alien. If the child was adopted, see Adopted child, later. If the child has an ITIN, instead of an SSN or ATIN, see Substantial Presence Test in the Instructions for Schedule 8812 (Form 1040) for additional requirements.
Your child must meet all seven conditions. If the child was adopted, see Adopted child, later.
For each qualifying child, you must check the box on Form 1040 or Form 1040A, line 6c, column (4).
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176270

Are there exceptions to the time lived with you requirement?(p19)

rule
A child is considered to have lived with you for all of 2016 if the child was born or died in 2016 and your home was this child's home for the entire time he or she was alive. This is true even if the child was not alive for half of 2016. Temporary absences by you or the child for special circumstances are not counted. Special circumstances includes absences for school, vacation, business, medical care, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility. These temporary absences count as time the child lived with you.
There are also exceptions for kidnapped children and children of divorced or separated parents. For details, see Pub. 501.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176271

What if my child is the qualifying child of more than one person?(p19)

rule
A special rule applies if your qualifying child is the qualifying child of more than one person. For details, see Pub. 501.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176272

Adopted child.(p19)

rule
Your adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption. If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. national and your adopted child lived with you as a member of your household all year, that child meets Condition 7.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176273

How Much Can I Claim As a Child Tax Credit?(p19)

rule
The maximum amount you can claim for the credit is $1,000 for each qualifying child.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176274

What factors affect the amount of my child tax credit?(p19)

rule
You must reduce your child tax credit if either (1) or (2) below applies.
  1. The amount on Form 1040, line 47, or Form 1040A, line 30, is less than the credit. If the amount is zero, you cannot take this credit because there is no tax to reduce. However, you may be able to take the additional child tax credit. See Additional Child Tax Credit, later.
  2. Your modified adjusted gross income (AGI), calculated as described later, is more than the amount shown below for your filing status.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176276
Modified AGI.(p19)
For purposes of the child tax credit, your modified AGI is the amount on Form 1040, line 38, or Form 1040A, line 22, plus the following amounts that may apply to you.
If you do not have any of the above, your modified AGI is the same as your AGI.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176277

Claiming the Credit(p19)

rule
To claim the child tax credit, you must file Form 1040 or Form 1040A. For each qualifying child, you must check the box on Form 1040 or Form 1040A, line 6c, column (4). For more information on the child tax credit, see the instructions for Form 1040 or Form 1040A, especially the Child Tax Credit Worksheet in those instructions. Also attach Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, if required.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink100049995

You and each qualifying child must have the required taxpayer identification number.(p20)

rule
If you didn't have an SSN (or ITIN) by the due date of your 2016 return (including extensions), you can't claim the child tax credit on either your original or an amended 2016 return, even if you later get an SSN (or ITIN). Also, no credit is allowed on either your original or an amended 2016 return with respect to a child who didn't have an SSN, ATIN, or ITIN by the due date of your 2016 return (including extensions), even if that child later gets one of those numbers.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink100049996

Additional Child Tax Credit(p20)

rule
If you aren't able to claim the full amount of the child tax credit, you might be eligible for the additional child tax credit. The additional child tax credit is for certain individuals who get less than the full amount of the child tax credit. The additional child tax credit may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax.
You can't claim the additional child tax credit if you file Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income; or Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. The discussion above explains the child tax credit. For more information on the additional child tax credit, see the instructions for Form 1040 or Form 1040A, and Schedule 8812 (Form 1040).
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176279

Earned Income Credit(p20)

rule
The earned income credit (EIC) is a credit for certain persons who work. The credit reduces the amount of tax you owe (if any). It may also give you a refund.
You must satisfy certain criteria in order to claim the earned income credit. The criteria you must meet depends on whether you have a qualifying child. Detailed information is provided in Claiming the EIC If I Have a Qualifying Child and Claiming the EIC If I Don't Have a Qualifying Child, later.
EIC
If you claim the EIC and it is later disallowed, you may have to complete an additional form if you want to claim the credit in a following year. See chapter 5 in Pub. 596 for more information, including how to claim the EIC after disallowance.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink100049997

Can I claim the EIC if I don't have a social security number?(p20)

rule
If you don't have a social security number (an SSN) by the due date of your 2016 return (including extensions), you can't claim the EIC on either your original or an amended 2016 return, even if you later get an SSN.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176281

Claiming the EIC If I Have a Qualifying Child(p20)

rule
If you have a qualifying child (defined later), you must satisfy all nine of the following rules to claim the earned income credit.
  1. You must have earned income (defined later).
  2. Your earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than:
    1. $47,955 ($53,505 for married filing jointly) if you have three or more qualifying children,
    2. $44,648 ($50,198 for married filing jointly) if you have two qualifying children,
    3. $39,296 ($44,846 for married filing jointly) if you have one qualifying child, or
    4. $14,880 ($20,430 for married filing jointly) if you do not have a qualifying child.
  3. Your filing status cannot be married filing separately.
  4. You generally cannot be a qualifying child of another person. If filing a joint return, your spouse also cannot be a qualifying child of another person.
  5. Your qualifying child cannot be used by more than one person to claim the credit. If your qualifying child is the qualifying child of more than one person, you must be the person who can treat the child as a qualifying child. For details, see Rule 9 in Pub. 596.
  6. You cannot file Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ to exclude income earned in foreign countries, or to deduct or exclude a foreign housing amount. See Pub. 54 for more information about these forms.
  7. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year unless:
    1. You are married to a U.S. citizen or a resident alien, and
    2. You choose to be treated as a resident alien for the entire year. If you need more information about making this choice, see Resident Aliens, later.
  8. Your investment income must be $3,400 or less during the year. For most people, investment income is taxable interest and dividends, tax-exempt interest, and capital gain net income.
  9. You must have a valid social security number for yourself, your spouse (if filing a joint return), and any qualifying child.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176285

How to report.(p20)

rule
If you satisfy all these rules, fill out Schedule EIC (Form 1040) and attach it to either Form 1040 or Form 1040A.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176286

Qualifying child.(p20)

rule
Your child is a qualifying child if your child passes four tests and has a social security number as required in Social security number of child, later. The four tests are:
  1. Relationship,
  2. Age,
  3. Residency, and
  4. Joint return.
Each test, and the social security number requirement, are discussed below.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176287
Relationship test.(p21)
In order to be classified as a qualifying child, your child must pass the relationship test. Your child passes this test if the child is your:
An adopted child is always treated as your own child. The term "adopted child" includes a child who was lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
Your foster child, for the relationship test, is a child placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgement, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction. An authorized placement agency includes a state or local government agency. It also includes a tax-exempt organization licensed by a state. In addition, it includes an Indian tribal government or an organization authorized by an Indian tribal government to place Indian children.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176288
Age test.(p21)
In order to be classified as a qualifying child, your child must pass the age test. A child passes the age test if he or she is in at least one of the following categories.
  1. Category 1. Under age 19 at the end of 2016 and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly).
  2. Category 2. Under age 24 at the end of 2016, a full-time student, and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly).
  3. Category 3. Permanently and totally disabled at any time during 2016, regardless of age.
Full-time student.A full-time student is a student who is enrolled for the number of hours or courses the school considers to be full-time attendance.
To qualify as a student, your child must be, during some part of each of any 5 calendar months during the calendar year:
  1. A full-time student at a school that has a regular teaching staff, course of study, and regular student body at the school; or
  2. A student taking a full-time, on-farm training course given by a school described in (1), or a state, county, or local government.
The 5 calendar months need not be consecutive.
A school can be an elementary school, junior or senior high school, college, university, or technical, trade, or mechanical school. However, on-the-job training courses, correspondence schools, and schools offering courses only through the Internet do not count as schools for the EIC.
Students who work in co-op jobs in private industry as a part of a school's regular course of classroom and practical training are considered full-time students.
Permanently and totally disabled.Your child is permanently and totally disabled if both of the following apply.
  1. He or she cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition.
  2. A doctor determines the condition has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year or can lead to death.

taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176289
Residency test.(p21)
In order to be classified as a qualifying child, your child must pass the residency test. A child passes the residency test if he or she has lived with you in the United States for more than half of 2016.
The United States includes the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It does not include Puerto Rico or U.S. possessions such as Guam.
U.S. military personnel stationed outside the United States on extended active duty are considered to live in the United States during that duty period for purposes of the EIC. Extended active duty means you are called or ordered to duty for an indefinite period or for a period of more than 90 days. Once you begin serving your extended active duty, you are still considered to have been on extended active duty even if you do not serve more than 90 days.
A child who was born or died in 2016 is treated as having lived with you for more than half of 2016 if your home was the child's home for more than half of the time he or she was alive in 2016.
Count time that you or your child is away from home on a temporary absence due to a special circumstance as time the child lived with you.
A kidnapped child is treated as living with you for more than half of the year if the child lived with you for more than half the part of the year before the date of the kidnapping. The child must be presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by someone who is not a member of your family or your child's family. This treatment applies for all years until the child is returned. However, the last year this treatment can apply is the earlier of:
  1. The year there is a determination that the child is dead, or
  2. The year the child would have reached age 18.
If your qualifying child has been kidnapped and meets these requirements, enter "KC," instead of a number, on line 6 of Schedule EIC.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000236187
Joint return test. (p21)
In order to be classified as a qualifying child, your child must satisfy the joint return test. There are two parts to this test. First, the child cannot file a joint return for the year (unless the joint return is filed only as a claim for refund).
Second, if your child was married at the end of the year, he or she cannot be your qualifying child unless either:
  1. You can claim the child's personal exemption, or
  2. You can't claim the child's personal exemption because you gave that right to your child's other parent under the Special rule for divorced or separated parents or parents who live apart described in chapter 2 of Pub. 596.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176290
Social security number of child.(p22)
In order to be classified as a qualifying child, your child must have a valid social security number (SSN) unless the child was born and died in 2016. If a child didn't have an SSN by the due date of your return (including extensions), you can't count that child as a qualifying child in figuring the EIC on either your original or an amended 2016 return, even if that child later gets an SSN. You cannot claim the EIC on the basis of a qualifying child if:
  1. Your qualifying child's SSN is missing from your tax return or is incorrect;
  2. Your qualifying child's social security card says "Not valid for employment" and was issued for use in getting a federally funded benefit; or
  3. Instead of an SSN, your qualifying child has:
    1. An individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), which is issued to a noncitizen who cannot get an SSN; or
    2. An adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN), which is issued to adopting parents who cannot get an SSN for the child being adopted until the adoption is final.
If you have more than one qualifying child and only one has a valid SSN, you can claim the EIC only on the basis of that one child.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176291

More information.(p22)

rule
For more information, see Pub. 596.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176292

Claiming the EIC If I Don't Have a Qualifying Child (p22)

rule
If you do not have a qualifying child, you can take the credit if you satisfy all 11 of the following rules.
  1. You must have earned income (defined later).
  2. Your earned income and adjusted gross income must each be less than $14,880 ($20,430 for married filing jointly).
  3. Your filing status cannot be married filing separately.
  4. You cannot be a qualifying child of another person. If filing a joint return, your spouse also cannot be a qualifying child of another person.
  5. You must be at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of the year. If filing a joint return, either you or your spouse must be at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of the year.
  6. You cannot be claimed as a dependent by anyone else on that person's return. If filing a joint return, your spouse also cannot be claimed as a dependent by anyone else on that person's return.
  7. Your main home must be in the United States for more than half the year. (U.S. military personnel stationed outside the United States on extended active duty are considered to live in the United States.)
  8. You cannot file Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ.
  9. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year unless:
    1. You are married to a U.S. citizen or a resident alien, and
    2. You choose to be treated as a resident alien for the entire year.
  10. Your investment income must be $3,400 or less during the year. For most people, investment income is taxable interest and dividends, tax-exempt interest, and capital gain net income.
  11. You (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) must have a valid social security number.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176294

How to report.(p22)

rule
If you satisfy all 11 of these rules, fill out the EIC worksheet in your tax form instructions to figure the amount of your credit.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176295

More information.(p22)

rule
For more information, see Pub. 596.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176296

How Do I Figure My Earned Income?(p22)

rule
When figuring your earned income for the EIC, you must know what counts as earned income as well as what doesn't count as earned income. Both categories of income are described below.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink100049998

What is included in my earned income for the EIC? (p22)

rule
For purposes of the earned income credit, earned income includes the following.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink100050000
Can I treat my nontaxable combat pay as earned income?(p22)
You can elect to include your nontaxable combat pay in earned income for the earned income credit. If you make the election, you must include in earned income all nontaxable combat pay you received. If you are filing a joint return and both you and your spouse received nontaxable combat pay, you can each make your own election. The amount of your nontaxable combat pay should be shown on your Form W-2 in box 12 with code Q. Electing to include nontaxable combat pay in earned income may increase or decrease your EIC.
Figure the credit with and without your nontaxable combat pay before making the election. Whether the election increases or decreases your EIC depends on your total earned income, filing status, and number of qualifying children. If your earned income without your combat pay is less than the amount shown below for your number of children, you may benefit from electing to include your nontaxable combat pay in earned income and you should figure the credit both ways. If your earned income without your combat pay is equal to or more than these amounts, you will not benefit from including your combat pay in your earned income.
The following examples illustrate the effect of including nontaxable combat pay in earned income for the EIC.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176300

Example 1—election increases the EIC.(p23)

George and Janice are married and will file a joint return. They have one qualifying child. George was in the Army and earned $15,000 ($5,000 taxable wages + $10,000 nontaxable combat pay). Janice worked part of the year and earned $2,000. Their taxable earned income and AGI are both $7,000. George and Janice qualify for the earned income credit and fill out the Earned Income Credit (EIC) Worksheet in the Form 1040A instructions and Schedule EIC.
When they complete the worksheet without adding the nontaxable combat pay to their earned income, they find their credit to be $2,389. When they complete the EIC worksheet with the nontaxable combat pay added to their earned income, they find their credit to be $3,373. Because making the election will increase their EIC, they elect to add the nontaxable combat pay to their earned income for the EIC. They enter $3,373 on line 38a of their Form 1040A and enter the amount of their nontaxable combat pay on line 38b.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176301

Example 2—election does not increase the EIC.(p23)

The facts are the same as in Example 1 except George had nontaxable combat pay of $23,000. When George and Janice add their nontaxable combat pay to their earned income, they find their credit to be $1,482. Because the credit they can get if they do not add the nontaxable combat pay to their earned income is $2,389, they decide not to make the election. They enter $2,389 on line 38a of their Form 1040A.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink100050001

What isn't earned income for the EIC?(p23)

rule
When figuring your earned income for purposes of the earned income credit, don't include any of these amounts.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176302

IRS Can Figure Your Credit for You(p23)

rule
There are certain instructions you must follow before the IRS can figure the credit for you. See IRS Will Figure the EIC for You in Pub. 596.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176304

Credit for Excess Social Security Tax Withheld(p23)

rule
Most employers must withhold social security tax from your wages. If you worked for two or more employers in 2016 and you earned more than $118,500, you may be able to take the credit for excess social security tax withheld. The maximum amount of social security tax that should have been withheld for 2016 is $7,347.00. You are eligible for the credit for excess social security tax withheld only if you had more than one employer. You should use the Credit for Excess Social Security Tax Withheld Worksheet later to figure your credit.
EIC
All wages are subject to Medicare tax withholding.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176307

What if one of my employers withheld more than $7,347.00?(p23)

rule
If any one employer withheld more than $7,347.00 in social security taxes in 2016, you can't take a credit for the excess social security tax withheld over $7,347.00 by that employer. The employer should adjust the tax for you. If the employer does not adjust the overcollection, you can file a claim for refund using Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176308

Joint return.(p23)

rule
If you are filing a joint return, you cannot add the social security tax withheld from your spouse's wages to the amount withheld from your wages in determining whether you or your spouse had excess social security tax withheld. You must figure the withholding separately for you and your spouse to determine if either of you has excess withholding.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176309

Credit for Excess Social Security Tax Withheld Worksheet.(p23)

rule
You can use the Credit for Excess Social Security Tax Withheld Worksheet to figure your credit for excess social security tax withheld on wages in 2016 only if you had no wages in 2016 from employers that were railroads. If you worked for a railroad employer in 2016, see Do I calculate my credit differently if I am a railroad employee? next.taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink100050002
PencilCredit for Excess Social Security Tax Withheld Worksheet
* If you received wages from a railroad employer, you can't use this worksheet. See Do I calculate my credit differently if I am a railroad employee, earlier.
* If you had only one employer, do not use this worksheet. Instead see What if one of my employers withheld more than $7,347.00, earlier.
1. Add all social security tax withheld (but not more than $7,347.00 for each employer). Enter the total here1.
2. Enter any uncollected social security tax on wages, tips, or group-term life insurance included in the total on Form 1040, line 58 2.
3. Add lines 1 and 2. If $7,347.00 or less, stop here. You cannot take the credit 3.
4. Social security tax limit 4.7,347.00
5. Subtract line 4 from line 3. This is your excess social security tax withheld credit. Enter the result here and on Form 1040, line 71 (or Form 1040A, line 46) 5.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink100050003
Do I calculate my credit differently if I am a railroad employee? (p23)
If you work for a railroad employer, the discussion in this section doesn't apply to you. Your railroad employer must withhold tier 1 railroad retirement (RRTA) tax and tier 2 RRTA tax. See Excess Social Security or Railroad Retirement Tax Withholding in chapter 3 of Pub. 505 for more information.
taxmap/pubs/p3-007.htm#en_us_publink1000176311

How to take the credit.(p24)

rule
For Form 1040 filers, enter the credit on Form 1040, line 71. For Form 1040A filers, follow the instructions for line 46.