Do I Qualify for EITC?

You qualify for EITC if:

  • you have earned income and adjusted gross income within certain limits; AND
  • you meet certain basic rules; AND
  • you either:
    • meet the rules for those without a qualifying child; OR
    • have a child that meets all the qualifying child rules for you, or your spouse if you file a joint return.

Use the EITC Assistant to find out your filing status, if your child is a qualifying child, if you are eligible, and estimate the amount of the credit you may get.

EITC has special rules for members of the military, members of the clergy, and taxpayers with certain types of disability income or children with disabilities.

Basic Rules

Social Security Number

You, your spouse and any qualifying child you list on your tax return must each have a Social Security number that is valid for employment.

Filing Status

You must file:

  • Married filing jointly
  • Head of household
  • Qualifying widow(er)
  • Single

You can’t claim EITC if your filing status is married filing separately.

If you, or your spouse, are a nonresident alien, see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, to find out if you are eligible for EITC.

For the 2019 tax year, the earned income credit ranges from $529 to $6,557 depending on your filing status and how many children you have. For the 2020 tax year, the earned income credit ranges from $538 to $6,660 depending on your filing status and how many children you have.

    Filing Status Qualifying Children Claimed
    Zero One Two Three or more
    Single, Head of Household, or Widowed $15,570 $41,094 $46,703 $50,162
    Married Filing Jointly $21,370 $46,884 $52,493 $55,952

    Investment Income Limit
    Investment income must be $3,600 or less for the year.

    Maximum Credit Amounts
    The maximum amount of credit for Tax Year 2019 is:

    $6,557 with three or more qualifying children

    $5,828 with two qualifying children

    $3,526 with one qualifying child

    $529 with no qualifying children

    For previous years, see EITC Income Limits, Maximum Credit and Tax Law Updates.

    Additional Rules

    I Have a Qualifying Child

    If you, and your spouse if filing a joint return, meet the criteria above and you have a child who lives with you, you may be eligible for EITC. Each child you claim must pass the relationship, age, residency and joint return tests to be your qualifying child. See the Qualifying Child Rules for guidance.

    I Don’t Have a Qualifying Child

    If you and your spouse, if filing a joint return, meet the basic EITC rules for everyone, you qualify for EITC if:

    • You resided in the United States for more than half of the year; AND
    • You cannot be claimed as a dependent or qualifying child on anyone else’s return; AND
    • You must have been at least 25 but under 65 years old at the end of the tax year.


    Special EITC Rules

    Special EITC rules for members of the military, ministers, members of the clergy, those receiving disability benefits and those impacted by disasters.

    Disability and EITC

    Many persons with disabilities or persons having children with disabilities qualify for  EITC.