How to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit

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As today is National Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Day, we’re offering some simple tips and useful resources to help taxpayers claim this valuable tax credit. The EITC is a refundable federal tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families.  If you qualify, the credit can increase your federal tax refund by up to $5,666, depending on your individual tax situation. But you have to file a tax return to claim the EITC.




To be eligible for the EITC, taxpayers need to meet the follow criteria:

  • Must have valid Social Security Numbers;
  • Must be U.S. citizen or resident alien for the entire year;
  • Cannot use the married filing separately filing status;
  • You and your spouse (if married) cannot be claimed as a qualifying child by someone else.
  • Cannot claim the foreign earned income exclusion (which relates to wages earned while living abroad)
  • You and your spouse (if married) are between the ages of 25 and 64.
  • An easy way to see if you qualify to claim the EITC is to use our Earned Income Tax online calculator.

If you qualify for the EITC, you need to file a tax return to claim your credit. Intuit is working with nonprofit groups and public and private sector partners to help low and middle-income taxpayers get access to free online tax preparation so they claim this and other tax credits and deductions.

Additionally, at tax assistance events around the country, eligible tax filers can accurately and easily prepare their returns for free with TurboTax, ensuring they claim all the deductions and credits they deserve. These include:

IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs – IRS VITA sites in 12 communities across the country will offer filers the option of using TurboTax to prepare their returns on their own with the assistance of an onsite coach.

New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, Office of Financial Empowerment – Taxpayers can prepare and file their federal, state and city returns online with TurboTax at 20 free tax assistance sites throughout New York City. The program is part of a campaign designed to increase awareness about EITC.

Last year, California taxpayers alone left more than $1 billion in EITC funds unclaimed. There’s simply no reason to leave money you’re owed on the table. Find out if you qualify and file your return to claim your EITC.

19 responses to “How to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit”

  1. I am on Permenant Disability now, I have a 17 yr old still home, Do I still do my taxes?? I’m very confused about all of this

  2. I was approved for permanent Disability, they paid the back pay from 2011,;I have a 17 yr old at home. I’m not. Familiar with disability and Taxes.. what steps do I do at tax time?

  3. you also need to live in the states for more than 6 months right? You didn’t list this as a requirement.

    • Hi John,
      Go to:
      1. Federal Taxes tab
      2. Click “Deductions and Credits”
      3. Click “Explore on My Own”
      4. On “Your 2011 Deductions & Credits” screen scroll down to EIC under “You and Your Family”
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

    • Hi Johnn,
      Go to:
      1. Federal Taxes tab
      2. Click “Deductions and Credits”
      3. Click “Explore on My Own”
      4. On “Your 2011 Deductions and Credits” screen scroll down to “You and Your Family” Earned Income Credit

  4. I am married age 20 and my wife is 19, we have one child born in 2011, married filing jointly, out total combined income was 9800.00 why did we not qualify for the EIC??

  5. If someone can answer a question about earned income credit. We have 7 people that live in our household (husband, wife, 3 kids (under 8), grandpa and grandma. Can the grandparents claim two of the kids for EIC and the parents claim one?

  6. chris: you use the eic form in easy tax, very easuy to use and well woth it! I got $3050 for one child this year!

  7. How is it possible to recieve a refund over and above any tax paid in. It doesn’t seem right considering the federal government,for all intensive purposes,is broke.

  8. How is it possible to get a reund over and above any tax paid in. It doesn’t seem right cosidering the federal government is,for all intensive purposes,broke.

    • All those mlailoniires that make our laws in Washington D.C. should be made to make do with the same Social Security & Medicare I’m getting. Their retirement “golden parachute type” pensions & health & welfare packages should be taken away. People who are unable to see the needs of the elderly because they have never had any needs, will continue paying themselves steak & lobster while making us settle for bread & water.

    • Actually there is an error in your program. The credit is based off of your Adjusted Gross Income. The software calculates deductions and credits at the same time and uses your gross income for the credit calculation not the AGI. A pretty serious flaw in my opinion.

  9. to claim the child tax credit and earned income credit which form do i have to use

    using turbo tax can i file a ez form?

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