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 $10,000; 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:
- $21,430 if you're not claiming a qualifying child ($27,380 if filing jointly);
- $42,158 if you're claiming 1 qualifying child ($48,108 if filing jointly);
- $47,915 if you're claiming 2 qualifying children ($53,865 if filing jointly);
- $51,464 if you're claiming 3+ qualifying children ($57,414 if filing jointly).
One more thing—if you're not claiming a qualifying child:
You (and your jointly filing spouse) can't be claimed as a qualifying child or dependent on anyone else's return, and
- You must be at least 18 if you are a qualified former foster youth or a qualified homeless youth, regardless of whether or not you are a specified student
- You must be at least age 19 if you aren't a specified student, qualified former foster youth, or qualified homeless youth
- You must be at least age 24 if you are a specified student, unless you are a qualified former foster youth, or qualified homeless youth
Phew! Got all that? Fortunately, TurboTax handles the behind-the-scenes calculations so you don't have to.