The EITC is a tax credit for people who work. The maximum credit is $6,935. Single and married people can get it. You don’t have to have children, but the credit is higher if you do. There are rules about which children you can claim. See below. If you ignore the EITC rules, you may be denied the EITC for up to 10 years.
You must have worked during 2022. You can’t get EITC if you earned money outside the U.S. Your earnings and the “adjusted gross income” on your tax form must be less than:
- $53,057 if you have 3 or more qualifying children
(or $59,187 if married and filing a joint return)
- $49,399 if you have 2 or more qualifying children
(or $55,529 if married and filing a joint return)
- $43,492 if you have one qualifying child
(or $49,622 if married and filing a joint return)
- $16,480 if you have no qualifying children
(or $22,610 if married and filing a joint return)
Do I meet the EITC rules?
- You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien for all of 2022.
- You need a valid social security number for you, your spouse, and children you claim.
- Your investment income must be less than $10,300.
- You can’t claim the EITC if someone else claims you as a “qualifying child.”
- You can claim EITC and file as “married filing separate” if you live with your qualifying child for more than half the year and either:
- Don’t live in the same household as the other spouse for at least the last 6 months of 2022, OR
- Are legally separated according to their state law with a written separation agreement or a decree of separate maintenance and don’t live in the same household as your spouse at the end of 2022.
Can I claim a child for the EITC?
You can claim a child for EITC if:
- They are your child by birth or adoption, your grandchild, stepchild, brother, sister, stepbrother or stepsister. You can also claim the child of any of these relatives. You must have cared for the child as your own. You can claim an eligible foster child.
- The child must have lived with you in the U.S. for more than half of 2022.
- The child must be younger than you and:
- under age 19 on December 31, 2022
- a full-time student under age 24 on December 31, 2022
- The child is permanently and totally disabled at any time during 2022, age doesn’t matter.
- If the child can be claimed by a parent as a qualifying child, but neither parent claims the child NO ONE ELSE can claim the child unless their Adjusted Gross Income is higher than the AGI of either parent. This situation can happen when extended family lives together.
If a child is a qualifying child for more than one taxpayer and they both claim the child, the parent who lived with the child longest that year gets the credit. If the child lived with both parents for the same length of time, the parent with the higher income gets to claim the credit.
If the child:
- did not live with a parent,
- is a qualifying child of more than one taxpayer, and
- they can’t agree who should claim the child,
then the taxpayer with the highest income gets to claim the credit.
See our fact sheet Can I Claim a Child on My Tax Return? for more information.
I have a foster child. Can I claim a foster child?
You can claim an eligible foster child. An eligible foster child is a child placed with you by an authorized placement agency, and who lived with you at least 6 months and 1 day during the year. They must meet the age rules above.
Can I claim the EITC if I don’t have a child?
Yes, if you:
- are at least 25 years old and under 65 years old
- aren’t the dependent of another
- aren’t the qualifying child of another, and
- lived in the United States for more than half of 2022
How do I get the EITC?
- File a federal tax return (Form 1040).
- If you have a qualifying child, file Form 1040 AND Schedule EIC (Form 1040).
The IRS figures out the EITC for you. If you qualify for the EITC, you can ask the IRS to figure the amount for you. If you have a qualifying child, you must still fill out the first half of Schedule EIC.
Does the EITC affect my MFIP, SSI, food stamps or other benefits?
Generally, EITC payments don’t count as income during the month you get the check or the next month. After 2 months, any refund left may count toward your asset limit for figuring public assistance. If you are getting public assistance, talk to your case worker about the effect of the refund.
If you have been denied the EITC in the past, you may have to fill out forms to show you are eligible for EITC now. If the IRS sends you a letter stating you must do this, contact Legal Aid.