Since 1975, the Earned Income Tax Credit has helped workers with low and moderate incomes get a tax break each year. Four out of five eligible workers claim EITC. Wondering if you can too? Here’s what you should know about this valuable credit:
1. Review your eligibility. If you worked and earned under $52,427 in 2014, you may qualify for the EITC. If your financial or family situation has changed, you should review the EITC eligibility rules because you might qualify for the EITC this year even if you didn’t in the past. If you qualify for the EITC you must file a federal income tax return and claim the credit to get it. This is true even if you are not otherwise required to file a tax return.
2. Know the rules. Before you claim the EITC, you need to understand the rules to be sure you qualify. And it’s important that you get this right. Here are some factors you should consider:
• Your filing status can’t be Married Filing Separately.
• You must have a Social Security number that is valid for employment for yourself, your spouse if married, and any qualifying child listed on your tax return.
• You must have earned income. Earned income includes earnings from working for someone else or working for yourself.
• You may be married or single, with or without children to qualify. If you don’t have children, you must also meet age, residency and dependency rules. If you have a child who lived with you for more than six months of 2014, the child must meet age, residency, relationship and the joint return rules to qualify.
• If you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in a combat zone, special rules apply. Connect with me on TaxConnections to find out more.
3. Lower your tax or get a refund. The EITC reduces your federal tax and could result in a refund. If you qualify, the credit could be worth up to $6,143. The average credit was $2,407 last year.
4. Use a legitimate tax preparer. Don’t guess about your EITC eligibility. Use the EITC Assistant tool on IRS.gov, which helps you find out if you qualify and will estimate the amount of your EITC. Then, let’s meet on TaxConnections.