Earned Income Tax Credit: Are You Owed A Refund?

gray and white illustration of a car with sun and clouds in background. Money is coming out from under the front hood. Text reads: What would you do if you had more money?If you are a taxpayer with a disability, or have a child with a disability, you may qualify for a refund that puts extra dollars in your pocket.

The IRS estimates that as many as 1.5 million people with disabilities miss out on a valuable credit for low to moderate income workers because they fail to file a tax return.

Many of these non-filers fall below the income threshold requiring them to file; however, in order to claim the EITC, you have to file a tax return—even if you don’t owe taxes for the previous year.

Those who qualify could pay less federal tax, pay no tax at all or even get a tax refund that puts an extra $2 to $6,318 into their pocket.

Eligibility for EITC

To qualify for EITC, you must have earned income from employment, self-employment or another source that does not exceed income limits (see below) as well as meet a few additional criteria. Social Security benefits or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) do not count as earned income.

Income Limits for 2017:

  • $48,340 ($53,930 married, filing jointly) with three or more  qualifying children
  • $45,007 ($50,597 married, filing jointly) with two qualifying  children
  • $39,617 ($44,207 married, filing jointly) with one qualifying child
  • $15,010 ($20,600 married, filing  jointly) with no qualifying children

Investment income must be $3,450 or less for the year.

Maximum Credit Amounts:

  • $6,318 with three or more qualifying children
  • $5,616 with two qualifying children
  • $3,400 with one qualifying child
  • $510 with no qualifying children

Remember: To claim EITC, you must file a tax return even if you owe no tax.

Find out if you qualify for EITC. Ask your tax return preparer, or visit the IRS website.

Disability and EITC

Taxpayers may claim a child* of any age as a qualifying child if the person has a permanent disability and you both meet all other EITC requirements. The tax law definition of totally and permanently disabled is:

  • The person cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition.
  • A doctor determines the condition has lasted or the doctor expects it to  last continuously for at least a year or lead to death.

*child: son, daughter, adopted child, stepchild, foster child or a descendant of any of them such as a grandchild; brother, sister, half brother, half sister, step brother, step sister or a descendant of any of them such as a niece or nephew.

EITC and Public Benefit Programs

The law is clear that tax refunds, including refunds from tax credits such as the EITC, are not counted as income for purposes of determining eligibility for benefits (such as Social Security disability benefits, Medicaid, and food assistance programs). This applies to any federal program and any state or local program financed with federal funds.

Use the EITC Assistant to determine eligibility and estimate the amount of your credit.

screen shot of the printable bulletin with the same information posted on this page.Printable Bulletin (PDF)


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