How to Determine Earned Income Credit Amount

If you work and are considered to have low or moderate income, you may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a refundable credit, which means that it is deducted from your tax liability (what you owe the IRS at the end of the year) instead of your taxable income. If the credit is more than what you owe, the government will cut you a check for the difference.

Visit or call the IRS to determine if you qualify for the EITC. Generally, you must have a Social Security number, have earned wages, be single or married filing jointly, be a U.S. Citizen and meet the income requirements.

If you intend to claim a child, verify that she qualifies. If your child does not qualify, you may still be eligible for the EITC.

If your child qualifies, fill out Schedule EIC, which details your child's information.

Locate all W-2s, your 1040 (or 1040EZ) and any other documents showing your earned income for the year. To determine your credit amount, the IRS will also need to know of any deductions, unemployment compensation, taxable refunds, student loans and alimony.

Visit and locate and click on the EITC Assistant link. This will take you through a series of questions to help you determine your tax credit amount. Keep in mind that this is only an estimate. You won't know how much you qualify for until you submit your taxes to the IRS.


  • If you qualify for the EITC credit, you may also qualify for a similar state credit. Contact your state office to see if you qualify.