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Who qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit?  Does my child qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit?  As a tax attorney, these are common questions I am asked.  Furthermore, as a tax attorney, it is quite often I see a taxpayer improperly claim a child for purposes of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

To qualify as a child (qualifying child) for purposes of the Earned Income Tax Credit, the child must have a valid social security number in terms of employment and must pass the tests below related to relationship, age, residency, and filing status.


The child must be your son, daughter, adopted child, foster child, step child or a descendant of such (a grandchild for example) to qualify.  Furthermore, a brother, sister, half brother or sister, step brother or sister or a descendant of these individuals, such as your nephew or a niece to qualify.


The child or individual must meet certain age requirements.  At the end of the tax period the applicable child or person was younger than you or your spouse if you file a joint return and was younger than 19 years of age.  Or, at the end of the tax period, the applicable child or person was younger than you or your spouse if filing a joint return, was younger than 24 years of age and a full-time student.  Or, at the end of the tax period, your child was totally disabled and was any age.


The child must has lived with your, or your spouse if you are filing a joint return, in the United States for more than half of the year.

Joint Return

The applicable child cannot file a joint return for the tax year unless the child and the child’s spouse had no separate filing requirement and a joint return was filed only to claim a refund.

It is important to note that only one taxpayer (one person) can claim the child for the tax credit.  If the child is a qualifying child for more than one person, and one of the persons is a parent or parents, the non-parent may only claim the child if their adjusted gross income (AGI) is greater than that of the parents.  If the child qualifies for the parent and another relative, the adjusted gross income rule as stated does not apply, the taxpayer chooses.

If you have questions related to tax credits or other matters impacting your individual income tax, you can speak with a tax attorney in Denver, Colorado or Golden, Colorado by contacting The McGuire Law Firm.

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