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EITC Income Limits and Maximum Credit Amounts

The earned income tax credit (EIC or EITC) is a refundable tax credit available to taxpayers who have earned income. The credit helps low to moderate-income families get a tax break. As a qualified taxpayer, you can use the credit to reduce the taxes you owe or increase your refund. IRS Publication 596 details the eligibility rules as well as earned income and AGI limits.

Who is eligible for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?

To qualify for EITC you:

  • Must have a Social Security number that is valid for employment
  • Must have earned income from wages or running a business or a farm
  • May have some investment income (Limit applies)
  • Generally must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year
  • Cannot file as married filing separately
  • Cannot be a qualifying child of another person
  • Cannot file Form 2555 or 2555-EZ (related to foreign earned income)

2021 – Earned Income Tax Credit

For 2021, earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than:

  • $21,430 ($27,380 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
  • $42,158 ($48,108 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
  • $47,915 ($53,865 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
  • $51,464 ($56,414 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children

Tax Year 2021 maximum credit:

  • $1,502 with no qualifying children
  • $3,618 with one qualifying child
  • $5,980 with two qualifying children
  • $6,728 with three or more qualifying children

Investment Income must be $10,000 or less for the year

Earned Income Tax Credit
Table from Taxing Subjects: Drake Software

2020 – Earned Income Tax Credit

For 2020, earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than:

  • $15,820 ($21,710 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
  • $41,756 ($47,646 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
  • $47,440 ($53,330 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
  • $50,954 ($56,844 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children

Tax Year 2020 maximum credit:

  • $538with no qualifying children
  • $3,584 with one qualifying child
  • $5,920 with two qualifying children
  • $6,660 with three or more qualifying children

Investment Income must be $3,650 or less for the year

2019 – Earned Income Tax Credit

For 2019, earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than:

  • $15,570 ($21,370 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
  • $41,094 ($46,884 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
  • $46,703 ($52,493 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
  • $50,162 ($55,952 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children

Tax Year 2019 maximum credit:

  • $529 with no qualifying children
  • $3,526 with one qualifying child
  • $5,828 with two qualifying children
  • $6,557 with three or more qualifying children

Investment income must be $3,600 or less for the year.

2018 – Earned Income Tax Credit

For 2018, earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than:

  • $15,270 ($20,950 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
  • $40,320 ($46,010 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
  • $45,802 ($51,492 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
  • $49,194 ($54,884 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children

Tax Year 2018 maximum credit:

  • $519 with no qualifying children
  • $3,461 with one qualifying child
  • $5,716 with two qualifying children
  • $6,431 with three or more qualifying children

Investment income must be $3,500 or less for the year.

2017 – Earned Income Tax Credit

For 2017, earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than:

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

Tax Year 2017 maximum credit:

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

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

If you claim the earned income tax credit, your refund may be delayed. By law, the IRS must wait until mid-February to issue refunds to taxpayers who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Still not sure if you qualify for the EITC? Contact your tax professional at H&S Accounting & Tax Services for assistance claiming the credit, estimating your tax refund, and preparing your tax return.