The IRS has provided guidance on qualifying for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a refundable tax credit that is intended to be a financial boost for families with low to moderate incomes.
Due to changes in marital, parental or financial status, millions of workers may qualify for EITC for the first time this year. The IRS urges individuals who (1) work for someone else or have their own businesses or farm, and (2) earned $55,952 or less in 2019, to see if they qualify by using the “EITC Assistant” on the IRS’s website ( https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit/use-the-eitc-assistant).
Taxpayers must file a Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and attach a completed Schedule EIC, Earned Income Credit Qualifying Child Information, to the tax return for a qualifying child, in order to claim EITC. A taxpayer must have a valid Social Security number for themselves, their spouses if they are filing a joint return, and each qualifying child before they file their return.
The IRS expects most EITC-related refunds to be available in taxpayers’ bank accounts or on debit cards by the first week of March, if they choose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return.
Eligibility for EITC
In order to qualify, the worker must have earned income an adjusted gross income with certain limits and meet certain basic rules. The worker also must meet the rules for those without a qualifying child, or must have a child who meets all the qualifying child rules. Only one person can use a particular child to claim the EITC, if that child meets the rules to be a qualifying child for more than one person. Under a special rule, those who receive combat pay may choose to count it as taxable income for the purposes of EITC; this may or may not increase the amount of EITC.
Credit Limits for 2019
For tax year 2019, those who qualify for EITC can get a credit up to:
- $529 with no qualifying children,
- $3,526 with one qualifying child,
- $5,828 with two qualifying children, and
- $6,557 with three or more qualifying children.
Free Tax Help
Since EITC is complex and many special rules apply, the IRS encourages workers to do their taxes using the IRS Free File program, by choosing a trusted tax professional, or at a local free tax preparation site. The IRS also reminds taxpayers that they are always be responsible for the accuracy of their own tax return, even if someone else may have prepared it, because filing a tax return with an error on the EITC claim could have lasting impacts.