Publication 596

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Earned Income Credit (EIC)


What is the EIC? The earned income credit (EIC) is a tax credit for certain people who work and have earned income under a dollar amount that changes annually. A tax credit usually means more money in your pocket. It reduces the amount of tax you owe. The EIC may also give you a refund.

Do I Need This Publication? Certain people who file Form 1040 must use Worksheet 1 in this publication, instead of Step 2 in their Form 1040 instructions, when they are checking whether they can take the EIC. You are one of those people if any of the following statements are true:

  • You are filing Schedule E (Form 1040).
  • You are reporting income or a loss from the rental of personal property not used in a trade or business.
  • You are reporting income on Form 1040, line 21, from Form 8814 (relating to election to report child's interest and dividends).
  • You are reporting an amount on Form 1040, line 13, that includes an amount from Form 4797.

If none of the statements above apply to you, your tax form instructions have all the information you need to find out if you can claim the EIC and to figure the amount of your EIC. You do not need this publication. But you can read it to find out whether you can take the EIC and to learn more about the EIC.


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