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Why Pay and Prepare Your Taxes

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC or EIC, is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund.

When Can I Expect My Refund?

If you claim the earned income tax credit (EITC) or the additional child tax credit (ACTC) on your tax return, by law the IRS, can’t issue your refund before mid-February. Find out more on when to expect your refund.

After you file your return, the best way to track your refund is Where’s My Refund? or the IRS2Go mobile app.

You qualify for EITC if:

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 that was issued before the due date of your return (including extensions).

Filing Status

You must file:

  • Married filing jointly
  • Head of household
  • Qualifying widow or widower
  • 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.
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