Common Errors for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Understand the common errors you can make when you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on your tax return and what you need to do to avoid them.
You're responsible for what's on your tax return even when someone else prepares it for you. If the EITC claim on your tax return has errors, one of the following may happen:
- It may take longer for you to get your refund
- We may audit your EITC claim
- We may deny all or part of the credit
5 Common Errors You Need to Avoid
- Your Child Doesn't Qualify
- More than One Person Claimed the Child
- Social Security Number or Last Name Don't Match
- Married or Filed as Single Head of Household
- Over or Underreporting Your Income or Expenses
Your Child Doesn't Qualify
Most errors happen because the child you claim doesn't meet the qualification rules:
- Relationship: Your child must be related to you.
- Residency: Your child must live in the same home as you for more than half the tax year.
- Age: Your child's age and student or disability status will affect if they qualify.
- Joint return: Your child must not file a joint return with another person (for example, their spouse) to claim the EITC.
More than One Person Claimed the Child
Make sure that the child you claim lived with you for more than half of the tax year.
Social Security Number or Last Name Don't Match
Make sure you write the Social Security number and name exactly how it appears on the Social Security card for everyone you list on your return.
Married and Filed as Single or Head of Household
If you are married, you can't claim the EITC using the single filing status. You can't claim the EITC using the head of household filing status if you are married and you and your qualifying child lived with your spouse during the last six months of 2021. Make sure you use the correct filing status.
Over or Underreporting Your Income or Expenses
Make sure you include all your Forms W-2, W-2G, 1099-MISC, 1099-NEC and all other records of your income.
If your Forms W-2, W-2G, 1099-MISC and 1099-NEC, do not match IRS records, you may be required to submit additional documentation such as
- periodic pay statements ,
- check stubs or
- a letter from your employer on company letterhead or stationery indicating the dates of employment, gross amount of wages paid and withholdings deducted.
You should also include records of your income even if they aren't on an IRS form (for example, records you keep for your income as a part-time tutor).
Report all income you earn from running or owning a business or farm and deduct all allowable expenses.