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  • Writer's pictureBrian R. Schobel, CPA

Understanding and Utilizing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)


The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a valuable tax break designed to help low-to-moderate-income workers and families get a tax break. If you qualify, the EITC can reduce the amount of tax you owe and may even provide a refund. Let's dive into how you can understand and make the most of this credit.


What is the EITC?

The EITC is a refundable tax credit, meaning if the credit exceeds the amount of taxes you owe, you can receive the difference as a refund. It's intended to supplement wages for those who earn low to moderate incomes.


Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the EITC, you must:


  • Have earned income from employment, self-employment, or another source.

  • Have a Social Security number that's valid for employment.

  • Be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year or a non-resident alien married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien filing a joint return.

  • Not file Form 2555 (related to foreign earned income).

  • Meet certain income limits, which vary based on filing status and number of children.

Benefits of the EITC


  • Tax Reduction or Refund: The EITC can reduce your owed taxes or increase your refund.

  • Support for Families: The credit amount increases with the number of qualifying children, providing substantial support for families.

How to Claim the EITC


  1. Determine Eligibility: Use the IRS's EITC Assistant tool to see if you qualify.

  2. File a Tax Return: Even if your income is below the filing requirement, you must file a tax return to claim the EITC.

  3. Provide Necessary Documentation: This includes income statements and proof of your eligible children’s residency.

Common Mistakes to Avoid


  • Incorrectly Reporting Income: Ensure all income is accurately reported on your tax return.

  • Claiming Ineligible Children: Make sure any child you claim meets the relationship, age, and residency tests.

The EITC is a powerful tool for eligible taxpayers, potentially providing significant financial relief. If you think you might qualify, it's worth investigating and claiming the credit.


For assistance with the EITC or any other tax-related inquiries, BRS CPA is here to help. Don’t miss out on valuable credits that can improve your financial situation.


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