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How to Qualify a Child for the Earned Income Credit

by Ashley Mott

The Earned Income Credit (EIC) is a tax credit that was originally approved by Congress in 1975 to help offset the expense of paying into Social Security and to provide a financial incentive for working. The tax credit is for individuals and families who work and earn an income that is considered low or moderate by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Determining if you have a qualifying child for the Earned Income Credit only requires answering a few questions based on IRS guidelines for the credit.

Ensure that the child is an established relative. A son, daughter, brother, sister, niece, nephew, grandson or granddaughter is considered a relative for tax purposes. Adopted children, foster children and step-children are also considered relatives by the IRS.

Verify that the child who is going to be claimed for the EIC is younger than you or your spouse. The child also must also be younger than 19 years of age, younger than 24 if a e is a full time student or permanently and totally disabled for eligibility.

Ensure that the child has lived with you within the United States for over six months of the tax year. For tax purposes, the 50 states and the District of Columbia are considered the United States, while territories and possessions are not.

Check with the child if necessary to verify that the child is not filing a joint return for the tax year unless he was filing only to claim a refund and not because of a filing requirement.

Consult with any other person who cared for the child within the tax year to ensure that he is not claiming the child. A qualifying child is only eligible for use on one tax return. If a dispute occurs, the EIC is awarded to the person who cared for the child for the longest length of time within the tax year.

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