To qualify for and claim the Earned Income Credit you must:
- Have earned income; and
- Have been a U.S. citizen or resident alien for the entire tax year; and
- Have a valid Social Security number (not an ITIN) for yourself, your spouse (if filing jointly), and any qualifying children on your return; and
- Not have investment income exceeding $3,500; and
- Not be filing a Form 2555 or 2555-EZ; and
- File a return with the Single, Married Filing Jointly, Head of Household, or Qualifying Widower filing status, even if you're not required to file a return.
In addition, both your earned income and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) may not exceed:
- $15,270 if you're not claiming a qualifying child ($20,950 if filing jointly);
- $40,320 if you're claiming 1 qualifying child ($46,010 if filing jointly);
- $45,802 if you're claiming 2 qualifying children ($51,492 if filing jointly);
- $49,194 if you're claiming 3+ qualifying children ($54,884 if filing jointly).
One more thing – if you're not claiming a qualifying child:
- You (or your jointly filing spouse) must have been born on or after January 1, 1954; and
- You (or your jointly filing spouse) must have been born on or before December 31, 1993; and
- You (and your jointly filing spouse) cannot be claimed as a qualifying child or dependent on anyone else's return.
Phew! Got all that? Fortunately, TurboTax handles the behind-the-scenes calculations so you don't have to.
To visit the EIC section, search for EIC in your TurboTax program and then select the "Jump to" link in your search results. However, don't do this until after you've entered all your income and personal information – otherwise you'll get an incorrect EIC calculation.