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EITC, the Earned Income Tax Credit, also called EIC is a tax credit to help you keep more of the money you earned when you go to file your tax return. It is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families. The tax credit was approved originally in 1975 to offset the burden of social security taxes and to provide an incentive to work. When EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who qualify for the credit.

To qualify, you must meet the requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file.

The Requirements are:

  • You must have a social security number
  • You must be a US Citizen or resident alien, or a nonresident alien married to a US Citizen
  • You cannot be the qualifying child of someone else
  • You cannot file as Married Filing Separately
  • You must have earned income from employment, or self-employment
  • Your Adjusted Gross Income must meet the limits listed below
  • Your Investment Income cannot exceed $3,150 during the year
  • You cannot Form 2555 or 2555-EZ, which relates to foreign earned income

Your Earned Income must be less than the following*:

  • $43,998 ($49,078 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
  • $40,964 ($46,044 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
  • $36,052 ($41,132 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
  • $13,660 ($18,740 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children

The maximum amount that anyone is entitled to, based on his or her tax situation, can be up to almost $6,000. It is phased out based on the number of qualifying children you have and your income level. Once you have surpassed the amounts listed above you no longer eligible for the earned income credit.

If you think you meet all of the criteria above and your income will be within these limits, you may be eligible to claim your earned income credit! You should consult your tax preparer to be sure you are getting as much of your money back into your pocket as possible!


* Based on 2011 figures