The Earned Income Credit (“EIC”) or Earned Income Tax Credit (“EITC”) is a refundable tax credit for those workers who qualify. To qualify a person must have earned an income and meet the rules for either workers with a qualifying child or without a qualifying child.

How Much You Can Receive

            The amount you could possibly receive depends on the number of qualifying children you have.

0 children = $519
1 child = $3,461
2 children = $5,716
3 children = $6,431

Even if you had no withholdings in 2018 and do not owe any taxes, it is still possible to receive a refund.

How Children Qualify

A child much meet all five tests to qualify:

  • The child is your son, daughter, adopted child, stepchild, foster child, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them.
  • The child must be younger than you and under age 19 at the end of the tax year, or under the age of 24 at the end of the tax year and a full-time student. The child is also eligible if he or she is permanently disabled.
  • If the child is married and filed a joint tax return then the child does not qualify. If the child and the child’s spouse filed the joint return only to claim a refund and had no tax owed, then the child qualifies. If the child did not file a joint tax return then the child qualifies.
  • The child must have lived with you, or your spouse. Special rules apply for temporary absence and other circumstances.
  • Only one person can claim the child.

How to Claim the EIC

            Of course, you must first be eligible to claim the EIC. The easiest way to figure this out is going to Then you must file a 2018 tax return, including the Schedule EIC. To help with this process free tax preparation is available from the IRS if you earned less than $55,000 or are 60 or older. Also, if you made less than $66,000 you can file for free at

Legal Support

            If you need further assistance in understanding the EIC, or help with any other legal matter like clarifying, enforcing, or modifying a child support order, please call Smith Strong at (804) 325-1245 or (757) 941-4298.

Editorial Assistance By: Michael Gee - Law Clerk

H. Van Smith
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