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Who Qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Low- to moderate-income workers with qualifying children may be eligible to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if certain qualifying rules apply to them.

You may qualify for the EITC even if you can't claim children on your tax return.

Basic Qualifying Rules

To qualify for the EITC, you must:

Special Qualifying Rules

The EITC has special qualifying rules for:


Valid Social Security Number

To qualify for the EITC, everyone you claim on your taxes must have a valid Social Security number (SSN). To be valid, the SSN must be:

For the EITC, we accept a Social Security number on a Social Security card that has the words, "Valid for work with DHS authorization," on it.

For the EITC, we don't accept:

For more information about the Social Security number rules for the EITC, see Rule 2 in Publication 596, Earned Income Credit.

Filing Status

In 2023, to qualify for the EITC, you can use one of the following statuses:

You can claim the EIC if you are married, not filing a joint return, had a qualifying child who lived with you for more than half of 2023, and either of the following apply.

There are special rules if you or your spouse are a nonresident alien.

Head of Household

You may claim the Head of Household filing status if you're not married and pay more than half the costs of keeping up your home where you live with your qualifying child.

Related: About Publication 501, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.

Qualifying Surviving Spouse

To file as a qualifying widow or widower, all the following must apply to you:


Keeping up a Home

If you paid more than half the total cost to keep up a home during the tax year you file your taxes, you meet the requirement of paying more than half the cost of keeping up the home.

Costs include:

Costs don't include:

U.S. Citizen or Resident Alien

To claim the EITC, you and your spouse (if filing jointly) must be U.S. citizens or resident aliens.

If you or your spouse were a nonresident alien for any part of the tax year, you can only claim the EITC if your filing status is married filing jointly and you or your spouse is a:

Claim the EITC Without a Qualifying Child

You are eligible to claim the EITC without a qualifying child if you meet all the following rules. You (and your spouse if you file a joint tax return) must: