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Earned Income Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable credit that helps low- and moderate-income workers keep more of what they earn. When the amount of the credit exceeds the amount of income tax you owe, it could result in a refund.

In order to qualify for the Earned Income Credit, you must have earned income from employment or self-employment. Other income sources, such as interest and dividends, retirement income, Social Security, unemployment benefits, alimony, and child support do not count as earned income.

Note also that you cannot take the credit if you’re married but filing separately.

In order to qualify for the Earned Income Credit, your adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2012 must be less than

  • $45,060 ($50,270 if married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
  • $41,592 ($47,162 if married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
  • $36,920 ($42,130 if married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
  • $13,980 ($19,190 if married filing jointly) with no qualifying children


  • The maximum credit you can receive is

  • $5,891 with three or more qualifying children
  • $5,236 with two qualifying children
  • $3,169 with one qualifying children
  • $475 with no qualifying children