Earned Income Credit, EIC Table

What is the (EIC) Earned Income Credit Table?

eic, earned income credit table chart

The IRS provides an EIC table/chart which can be used to determine how much credit you can claim on your tax return. The earned income tax credit table can be found below:

To calculate the amount of earned income credit you can claim, simply find the row that matches that amount of earned income in the first two columns of the table to your filing status and the number of qualifying children you claim on your tax return.

Dependents Maximum CreditMaximum Adjusted Gross Income
Phaseout limits


           $1,502Single $21,430
Jointly $27,380



Single $42,158
Jointly $48,108



Single $47,915
Jointly $53,865



Single $51,464
Jointly $57,414

The credit is based on a percentage of your earned income but also starts to phase-out as you increase your income. The credit also increases as the number of children claimed on your tax return increases. Source: IRS.gov

What is the Earned Income Credit (EIC)?

In an effort to help individuals with low to moderate-income and to reduce poverty, the United States provides a program called the “Earned Income Credit” (EIC). This program is designed to aid individuals who work for a living but earn a low income. A qualifying individual can claim a credit from their tax return, which can offset tax liability and result in a refund. This credit has helped families for years.

What is the earned income credit and how does it work?

The Earned Income Credit was passed in 1975 in an effort to reduce poverty and assist those who work to provide for their families but earn lower income levels. It’s often criticized because the credit discourages individuals from earning higher incomes since the credit phases-out as you make more.

The earned income tax credit is available to claim for the 2021, 2022 tax season. The IRS estimates that about 15% of eligible individuals do not claim this tax credit.

What is the Earned Income Credit Limit?

The IRS has set these maximum table limits you can get for tax year 2021:

  • $6,728 with three or more qualifying children
  • $5,980 with two qualifying children
  • $3,618 with one qualifying child
  • $1,502 with no qualifying children

What is the Maximum Income to Qualify for the Earned Income Credit?

With three or more eligible children, earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must both be less than $51,464 ($57,414 married filing jointly) in 2021. With two eligible children, you may earn $47,915 ($53,865 if married filing jointly). With one qualified child, you may earn $42,158 ($48,108 if married filing jointly). With zero qualified children, you may earn $21,430 ($27,380 if married filing jointly).

How Does the Earned Income Credit Work?

The EIC provides support for low and moderate-income working parents (with qualifying children) in the form of tax credits. The tax credit is not as beneficial for individuals without children, but not having children does not disqualify you from the credit. Individuals receive a tax credit that can be claimed on Form 1040, which is a percentage of the individual’s earnings up to a specific maximum limit.

How to Calculate the Earned Income Credit

How to use the earned income credit calculator to see how much you qualify for.

The Dependents Tax Credit Calculator will give you an accurate view of how much earned income credit you could be entitled to. Just answer some simple questions regarding your income and your living circumstances, and you’ll get a readout on how much you may be eligible for.

How do You Qualify for the Earned Income Credit?

Although the Earned Income Credit is available for all working individuals, it greatly benefits those with children. To qualify an individual must:

  • Have a valid social security number. All members of the family must have a social security number to qualify.
  • File under the following filing status:
  • Single
  • Married filing jointly
  • Qualifying wife or widower
  • Head of household
  • Have less than $$10,000 of investment income for the tax year.
  • Not file a Foreign Earned Income Form 2555 or Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
  • Have earned income and adjusted gross income within the IRS limits. See the Earned Income Tax Credit table below to see if you qualify for the income phase-out limits.

Am I Eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?

What is Earned Income?

Earned income is defined as the income you earn working for an employer or self-employed. Examples of earned income are salaries and wages, royalties, commissions, profits from your business, self-employment income, and many other types of income. Some types of incomes that are excluded from “earned income” are child support or alimony, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, pension, and retirement income, interest income, and many other types of income which are not “earned” from working.

Is the Earned Income Credit Refundable or Non-Refundable?

The earned income credit is a “refundable credit.” Refundable credits provide the most benefit because if the tax credit is larger than the tax liability on your tax return, it will result in an additional refund of the difference. Non-refundable tax credits can only offset your tax liability to $0, but these credits do not result in a refund of the excess.

Earned Income Credit Worksheet & Calculator

Earned income tax credit worksheet and calculator.

The Earned Income Tax Credit Worksheet can be used to calculate your eligibility and how much credit you qualify for. The worksheet can be found in the instruction booklet for IRS Form 1040.

There is also an Earned Income Credit Calculator to help you figure out your Earned Income Credit amount.

Fraudulent Claims

It’s important to understand the qualifications and apply for the credit accordingly. An individual will be disallowed the earned income credit if they claim when not eligible due to “reckless or intentional disregard of the EIC rules.” Making fraudulent claims for the credit can disallow an individual for 10 years.

Online tax software does all the hard work for you by identifying and claiming the earned income credit, putting the numbers on the right form, and then computing just how big your refund will be.

How to Claim the Earned Income Credit

You must claim the Earned Income Credit with your Federal Individual Income Tax Return. You will need to attach a Schedule EIC to the Federal Income Tax Return to claim the credit.

Online filing makes it easy to claim the earned income tax credit and maximize your tax refund.

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