It's an extra credit for low income people. It's free money.
See if you qualify on the IRS site:
Qualifying Child Rules (has to be under 19 or under 24 and a full time student):
You can qualify for the EIC without a qualifying child if you are at least age 25 but under age 65 and your earned income and AGI is less than $13,980 ($19,190 if married filing jointly).
You can not get the EIC if you file Married Filing Separately.
You can not get the EIC if you are a dependent on someone else's return.
Income from a K-1 does not count as earned income for the EIC.
IRS EIC info http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Preview-of-2012-EITC-Income-Limits,-Maximum-Credit--Amounts-and-Tax-L...
Depending on income, EIC goes up, peaks, then goes down again to zero as income rises. So if you make near the max income to qualify, you will get a lower amount for EIC.
2012 Earned Income and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) must each be less than:
$45,060 ($50,270 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
$41,952 ($47,162 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
$36,920 ($42,130 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
$13,980 ($19,190 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
Tax Year 2012 maximum credit:
$5,891 with three or more qualifying children
$5,236 with two qualifying children
$3,169 with one qualifying child
$475 with no qualifying children
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