The Earned Income Credit is one of the most common tax credits you can claim during tax season. If you’re already claiming it, you should consider potentially claiming it back for previous tax years. The income limits for those who qualify for this tax credit have been adjusted. If you didn’t qualify for the EITC in the past you may be able to qualify for it now.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that just because they couldn’t claim it in the past doesn’t mean they can’t claim it now. The maximum amount of the credit has been upped, as well.
This guide is going to show you how you can go back and claim EITC for previous tax years.
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So How Can You Claim this Tax Credit from Previous Tax Years?
One of the most common problems for taxpayers is they miss out on important tax credits because they didn’t have a large enough income to file. They also may not have had any of their income withheld from their paychecks. The only way to claim this tax credit is to file some sort of tax return, so if you haven’t filed before you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to claim these tax credits.
The IRS allows you to file something called an amended tax return. This will update your previous returns and you’ll be able to receive a refund on the amount you paid. But there are deadlines for each tax year.
For example, if you wanted to file an amended tax return for 2011 you wouldn’t have been able to because you had to do it before April 17th 2015. The same applies to 2012, where you had to file your amended tax return by April 15th 2016. The next deadline is for the 2013 tax return, where you need to file the amended return by April 15th 2017.
Tax years from 2013 onwards are still eligible for you to claim the EITC.
Where Can You Get Help with Preparing Your Tax Returns?
Filing an amended tax return can be complicated. One wrong figure or adding a piece of information to the wrong section can completely invalidate your tax return. If this happens too close to the deadline it could cost you a few hundred dollars in lost credits.
There are lots of tax preparation websites that will help you with claiming EITC. Some of these sites also possess specialists who will help you with determining whether you can claim back EITC from previous years.
You can also visit a professional tax return preparer. These tax return preparers will ask you about your previous tax returns and show you what you can do to potentially claim EITC from previous years. Keep in mind that they will come at a cost, so you need to take a cursory look at your own financial affairs to ensure that this course of action is worth it.
Use an EITC Assistant to Help with Filing for Previous Years
It’s not as difficult as it seems to figure out whether you’re eligible to claim back tax credits for previous years. All you need to do is supply basic information relating to your basic income. Use tax filing online and you’ll be able to find out whether you’re able to claim EITC, whether your children qualify, and the amount of credit you’re entitled to.
You need to consider the fact that income limits and credit awards change every year, so make sure you’re using the numbers from the right year.
Important Points to Know About Claiming EITC
Keep in mind that you can’t include any income earned if you were incarcerated. This also includes work that was completed as part of a work release program, or while you were residing in a halfway house. You also need to keep in mind that if you were audited and EITC was denied you will have special filing requirements and other restrictions placed upon you.
Any payments you gained from disability retirement are included as part of earned income if you’re below the minimum retirement age. After you pass the minimum retirement age your payments aren’t counted as earned income. They’re counted as taxable pension payments.
What About Adopted Children?
Adopted children change the situation. They must be issued a Social Security Number before they can be counted towards earned income. If they don’t have one of these numbers they’ll be given an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number. This isn’t the same and can’t be used. You’ll need to file an amended return after the child has their Social Security Number.