FAQs: The Earned Income Tax Credit

Is the Earned Income Tax Credit something new for 2010?

No, but many people who are eligible to get the credit do not know about it.

I didn’t file taxes last year. Is it too late?

No, you can work with a community organization or a tax professional to file prior year taxes. Read more here.

Can I file for the EITC on my past tax returns?

Yes, you can apply for the credit for the past three years (2009, 2008 and 2007). That could mean a lot of extra money for your family.


Can I still get the EITC if I work and also get welfare benefits?

Yes. See if you qualify.

If I get the EITC, will this lower the amounts of other government benefits I am already receiving? Could I lose my benefits?

Generally, no. The credit does not count as income for Medicaid, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or federally-assisted housing programs. Here are some of the rules:

  • For Medicaid, SSI, or Federally-Assisted Housing Programs: The money you get back must be spent one month after you receive it. If not, it can count as a resource.
  • For Food Stamps: The credit must be spent within 12 months after you receive it. If not, it can affect the amount of food stamps you receive.

Can I get the EITC as an immigrant worker?

Yes, as long as you, your spouse and children have a valid Social Security Number that allow you to work in the United States. Many immigrants authorized to work in the U.S. with a Social Security Number can get the credit.

Can I still qualify for the EITC if I do not have a Social Security number?

No. If you have an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) or a non-work Social Security Number, you cannot get the EITC. If you have an ITIN, you can still file a tax return and may be eligible to receive a refund or certain tax credits.

I don’t owe taxes. Can I file electronically after April 18th?

Yes, you can file your return after April 18th. If you want an extension to pay your taxes by October 15th, you’ll need to file this form by April 18th.

How do I know if my child qualifies for the EITC?

To be included as your Qualifying Child when you apply for the EITC, your dependent must meet the following conditions:

  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Be your son, daughter, adopted child, stepchild, foster child, or descendent of any of them (such as a grandchild) or brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendent of any of them (such as a niece or nephew).
  • At the end of the filing year, be younger than you (or your spouse if filing jointly) and be younger than 19, or younger than 24 and a full-time student, or any age if permanently and totally disabled.
  • The child must live with you in the U.S. for at least 6 months
  • The child can’t file a joint return, unless it was filed only to claim a refund.
  • A qualifying child can’t be included on a return by more than one person.

Can I still apply for the Advanced Earned Income Tax Credit?

No. The Advanced Earned Income Tax Credit will not be available after December 31, 2010.

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