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Qualifying for Earned Income Credit

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable credit. Refundable credits can actually increase your federal refund. Think of EITC as a ‘payment’ the Federal government gives to low- to moderate- income workers to get a break when they do their taxes. The catch is not everyone qualifies for EITC. Let’s go over the basics of qualifying for EITC on your tax return.

Just as everything in life, you can’t win if you don’t try or in this case you can’t qualify for EITC if you don’t file a tax return. In some cases, you may qualify for EITC even though you aren’t required to file. If you don’t file for it, you won’t get it.

The basic guidelines that everyone must follow are your adjusted gross income (AGI) must be below $48,362, have a valid social security number, cannot file Married Filing Separately, must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year, cannot file Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ, investment income must be less than $3,100 and you must have earned income.

AGI and earned income restrictions are based on whether you have children or not. With three or more qualifying children, you must make less than $43,352, or $48,362 if married filing jointly. For two qualifying children, it’s less than $40,363, or $45,373 if married filing jointly. With one child, it’s less than $35,535, or $40,545 if married filing jointly. With no children, the amount is $13,460, or $18,470 if married filing jointly.

The number of qualifying children you have also affects the maximum amount of earned income credit you can receive on your tax return for this tax year. Three or more qualifying children may give you $5,666 in EITC. Two may give you $5,036; one may give you $3,050 and with none you may still be able to get $457.

Filing your taxes with makes it a cinch because it does all the necessary calculations for you. Filing online with can really help so you don’t miss credits and miss getting your maximum refund.

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