Earned Income Credit Eligibility

Here you can get detailed information on earned income credit eligibility so you can see if you are eligible for the earned income tax credit or not.


There are a number of requirements that are a MUST if you want to get the earned income tax credit:

The first one is that you have to be a US resident. This means that you have to:

  • be a US citizen or resident alien ALL year
  • live in the United States for more than 6 months during the year that you are claiming the credit
  • have a valid social security number that allows you to work.
  • A social security card that does not allow you to work will have “Not valid for employment” stamped on to it.

The second requirement is that you have to have earned income. Earned income means income that is earned by working, like wages or self employed income. There are of course limits to the amount of earned income you can have to get the credit as you will see by income limits.

    Income that is earned passively without work, like interest from the bank or stock dividends is called unearned income or investment income. Unearned income not only does not count when calculating the earned income tax credit but it can even make you become ineligible for the EIC as we will explain later.

The third requirement for earned income credit eligibility is that you have to be between the age of 25 and 65 OR have at least one qualifying child.

Income Limits:

The maximum earned income to qualify for the federal earned income credit depends on the amount of qualifying children and if the filing status is married filing jointly or not. These limits are raised slightly every year.

Here are the numbers for married filing joint:

    $52,427 for 2014 ($53,267 for 2015) with three qualifying children
    $49,186 for 2014 ($49,974 for 2015) with two qualifying children
    $43,941 for 2014 ($44,651 for 2015) with one qualifying child
    $20,020 for 2014 ($20,330 for 2015) with no qualifying children

Here are the numbers for single, head of household or qualifying widow(er):

    $46,997 for 2014 ($47,747 for 2015) with three qualifying children
    $43,756 for 2014 ($44,454 for 2015) with two qualifying children
    $38,511 for 2014 ($39,131 for 2015) with one qualifying child
    $14,590 for 2014 ($14,820 for 2015) with no qualifying children

Here are some no-no’s that will make you lose the earned income credit eligibility:

  • Your filing status cannot be “Married filing separately” – This is a filing status that is used when a married couple chooses to file separately (Tip: If you lived apart from your spouse during the last 6 months of the year and have a qualifying child you might be able to file as head of household and claim the credit.)
  • You cannot file Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ – A form that is filed by US citizens living abroad
  • Your investment or unearned income in year 2012 must be $3,350 or less ($3400- for 2015) – if you are filing for an earlier tax year, this amount will be slightly lower.
  • You cannot be the dependent of another person
  • You cannot be a qualifying child of another person

Now that you checked your earned income credit eligibility, you can find out if you have a qualifying child or children to make your credit even larger.



Updated January 28, 2015



› Eligibility


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How much will you get for the Child and Dependent Care Credit?

Check out this new calculator, to see how much your credit will be.

For more information or to see if you are eligible see the Child and Dependent Care Credit page.


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