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What is the Earned Income Tax Credit?

The earned income tax credit (EITC) is an incentive to work for low to moderate income individuals and families. The earned income credit is refundable, which means that even if you don't owe any taxes, you can still get a refund.

2012 Earned Income Tax Credit Income Limits

The maximum 2012 income (earned income and adjustable gross income) for the IRS EITC is as follows:

Three or more qualifying children: You must earn less than $45,060 ($50,270 married filing jointly).

Two qualifying children: You must earn less than $41,952 ($47,162 married filing jointly).

One qualifying child: You must earn less than $36,920 ($42,130 married filing jointly).

No qualifying children: You must earn less than $13,980 ($19,190 married filing jointly).

EITC Tax Credit Requirements

Qualifying children must meet relationship, age, and residency tests, which is different than the dependent rules.

If you don't have children, you must be age 25 - 64 to qualify for the earned income credit.

To get the earned income tax credit, you must have earned income and file a tax return.

You cannot claim foreign earned income.

You cannot use the married filing separately filing status.

In addition, you must have a SSN and be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year to claim the 2012 EITC credit.

More information on EITC tax is available in Publication 596.

EITC Calculator

To calculate the amount of your earned income credit, use the 2012 tax calculator.