The Earned Income Tax Credit requires that you aren’t a dependent of another person if you wish to claim it. Single filers meet this test if box 6a on a Form 1040 or 1040A is checked, or if you don’t check the box listed as “You” on line 5 of a Form 1040EZ, and you can enter $10,150.

Joint filers meet the test if both boxes 6a and 6b are checked on Form 1040/1040A, or neither “you” nor “Spouse” box is checked on line 5 of Form 1040EZ, and you entered $20,300.

You can check the rules for claiming someone as a dependent to quell any concerns you may have regarding whether you are considered to be a dependent of another taxpayer. Even if the other taxpayer chooses not to claim you as a dependent, the sheer fact that they can claim you disqualifies you from claiming the EITC.


  1. You are a 25-year-old unmarried employee. You live with your parents, but you are able to claim an exemption for yourself when you file your Form 1040EZ. You CAN claim the EITC if you meet all other requirements.
  2. Same example as above, except your parents can claim you as a dependent, even if they chose not to. You CANNOT claim the EITC as you do not meet the requirements.

In the case of married taxpayers, most of the time you aren’t able to be claimed as a dependent of anyone else if you file jointly with your spouse. The exception to this is if you file a joint return with your spouse only to claim a refund of excess income tax paid. In these cases, you may be able to be claimed by someone else as a dependent. Being claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer makes you ineligible for the EITC.


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