Earned Income Tax Credit: Rule 11
The Earned Income Tax Credit is available to taxpayers who are between the ages of 25 and 64. Only one person in a married couple who files jointly is required to meet the age test, but it doesn’t matter which spouse. If neither you, (or your spouse if married) are between the age of 25 and 64, then you are ineligible to claim the EITC.
If your spouse became deceased during the tax year, you are still required to meet the age test in order to claim the EITC. Your spouse reached age 25 on the day before his/her 25th birthday, while they are considered to be aged 65 on the actual birthday. If your spouse died prior to reaching his/her 25th birthday, you will not be eligible for the EITC.
- You are 66 and married. Your spouse died in September, two months before his/her 65th When you file your joint tax return, you ARE eligible to claim the EITC because your spouse met the age test before death.
- Your spouse’s birthday is March 3, 1990 and he/she became deceased on March 2, 2015. You ARE eligible to claim the EITC because your spouse is considered age 25.
- In the same example above, your spouse (born 3/3/90) died on March 1, 2015. You ARE NOT eligible to claim the EITC because your spouse is considered to be under age 25.
At the end of the tax year, your deceased spouse isn’t considered to meet the age test unless they were between the ages of 25 and 64 at the time of death.
Earned Income Tax Credit: Rule 10
You cannot be a qualifying child of another taxpayer if you want to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit on your own tax return. A qualifying child is one who meets all of the following requirements:
- Is a son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of them
- Is a brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them
- Is under the age of 19, and younger than the taxpayer claiming the child
- Is under the age of 24 if a full time student, and younger than the taxpayer
- Lived in the same residence as the taxpayer for over half the year
- Isn’t able to file a joint return with their spouse, unless the sole purpose is for claiming a refund
You are ineligible for the EITC if you if you meet all of the above requirements and are claimed by another taxpayer as a qualifying child, regardless of whether or not that person claims the EITC themselves.
If you meet all the above tests, but the person to whom you are a qualifying child is not required to file a tax return, then you may be able to claim the EITC on your own return. The same is true if the taxpayer filed a return specifically to get a refund and for no other reason. In both of these cases, you may still claim the EITC if you meet the other requirements for claiming it.
You cannot claim the EITC if:
- You are a qualifying child of a taxpayer who files a tax return for purposes other than a refund
- You are a qualifying child of a taxpayer who files a tax return and claims the EITC themselves
- You are a qualifying child of a taxpayer who is REQUIRED to file a return