Don’t Miss Out on Extra Cash! Learn How to Apply for the EITC

Amelia Ross
6 Min Read

The IRS offers eligible Americans extra money through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) when they file their annual tax return. This credit can significantly increase your tax refund, helping many Americans manage their finances better. However, not everyone knows they are eligible for this credit or how to apply for it. This guide will explain everything you need to know about the EITC, including how to apply for it even after you’ve filed your tax return.

What Is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. If you qualify, the EITC can reduce the amount of tax you owe and might give you a refund. The amount of the credit depends on your income and family size. The goal of the EITC is to help working families keep more of what they earn.

How Can the EITC Increase My Tax Refund?

When you file your annual tax return, you report your income and calculate how much tax you owe. If you qualify for the EITC, you can claim it on your tax return to reduce the amount of tax you owe. This might result in a larger tax refund. The EITC can be especially helpful for families with children, as the credit amount increases with the number of qualifying children you have.

Can I Apply for the EITC After Sending My Tax Return to the IRS?

Yes, you can apply for the EITC after submitting your tax return. According to the IRS, you have up to three years from the date you filed your original return to claim the EITC for that year. This means if you missed claiming the EITC in a previous year, you still have time to apply for it. However, you cannot claim the EITC for tax returns older than three years.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for the EITC?

To qualify for the EITC, you must meet certain requirements:

  1. Income Limits: Your earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must be below a specific amount. These limits change annually.
  2. Filing Status: You must file as single, head of household, married filing jointly, or qualifying widow(er). You cannot claim the EITC if you file as married filing separately.
  3. Valid Social Security Number: You, your spouse, and any qualifying children must have a valid Social Security Number.
  4. U.S. Residency: You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien for the entire year.
  5. Investment Income: Your investment income must be $3,650 or less for the year.

How Do I Apply for the EITC?

You can apply for the EITC by filing a tax return and completing the appropriate sections for the credit. If you need help, consider hiring a tax professional or visiting an IRS office for assistance. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. File Your Tax Return: Complete your federal income tax return using Form 1040 or 1040-SR.
  2. Complete Schedule EIC: If you have qualifying children, fill out Schedule EIC and attach it to your tax return.
  3. Claim the Credit: Calculate the amount of your credit using the EITC worksheet included in the IRS instructions.
  4. Submit Your Return: Send your completed tax return and forms to the IRS.

Applying for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can significantly boost your tax refund and provide much-needed financial relief. Even if you forgot to claim the EITC when you first filed your tax return, you have up to three years to apply for it.

Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements and consider seeking help from a tax professional or the IRS if needed. Don’t miss out on this valuable credit that can make a big difference in your financial situation.


1. What is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?

The EITC is a tax credit for working people with low to moderate income, helping them reduce the amount of tax they owe and possibly receive a refund.

2. How do I know if I qualify for the EITC?

You qualify if your income is below the set limit, you have a valid Social Security Number, you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, and you file a valid tax return.

3. Can I claim the EITC if I missed it on my original tax return?

Yes, you can claim the EITC for up to three years after you filed your original return.

4. What documents do I need to apply for the EITC?

You need your tax return, proof of income, valid Social Security Numbers for yourself and your qualifying children, and any other relevant financial documents.

5. Can I get help from the IRS to apply for the EITC?

Yes, you can visit an IRS office or hire a tax professional to help you apply for the EITC.

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