2017, 2016 and 2015 Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC) Qualification Income Limits

You can see the latest EIC tables (2020 and beyond) in this updated Earned Income Tax credit (EITC) page


[Updated] Below are the final IRS published 2016 and 2017 Earned Income Tax credit (EITC) figures. You can reference IRS publication 596 or use online tax providers like TurboTax or H&R Block to get a free estimate of the specific credit amount you would get.

How to read the EITC tables: The maximum earned income credit allowed/payable for the given tax year is shown in line 1. To start claiming this credit you must have at least $1 of earned income, with line 2 showing the minimum amount of earned income required to get the maximum earned income tax credit.

The amount of credit you receive or qualify for varies based on income and number of children so will differ from person to person. Earned income includes all the taxable income such as Wages, salaries, and tips, certain disability benefits and self-employment earnings.

The “Phaseout Threshold Amount Begins“ (lines 3 and 5 depending on filing status) and “Phaseout Amount When Credit Ends” (lines 4 and 6 depending on filing status) are the adjusted gross income (AGI) ranges from where the EITC begins to phase out to where it reaches $0, or the income at or above which no credit is allowed.

Or said another way you need to earn between $1 and the amounts in line 4 or 6 (based on filing statues) to get at least some of the EIC. If your income is between lines 3 and 4 (single filer) or lines 5 and 6 (married) then you get the FULL EIC for the year.

2017 Earned Income Tax Credit (for Returns Filed in 2018)

Income Qualification ItemNo ChildrenWith 1 ChildWith 2 ChildrenWith 3+ Children
1. Max. 2017 Earned Income Tax Credit Amount$510$3,400$5,616$6,318
2. Earned Income (lower limit) required to get maximum credit $6,670$10,000$14,040$14,040
3. Phaseout Threshold Amount Begins
(for Single, SS, or Head of Household)
$8,340$18,340$18,340$18,340
4. Phaseout Amount When Credit Ends
(for Single, SS, or Head of Household)
$15,010$39,617$45,007$48,340
5. Phaseout Threshold Amount Begins
(for Married Filing Jointly)
$13,930$23,930$23,930$23,930
6. Phaseout Amount When Credit Ends
(for Married Filing Jointly)
$20,600$45,207$50,597$53,930
Check out the  latest online tax software deals for filing your return and claiming this credit.

2016 Earned Income Tax Credit (For Returns Filed in 2017)

Income Qualification ItemNo ChildrenWith 1 ChildWith 2 ChildrenWith 3+ Children
1. Maximum 2016 Earned Income Tax Credit Amount$506$3,373$5,572$6,269
2. Earned Income (lower limit) required to get maximum credit $6,610$9,920 $13,930 $13,930
3. Phaseout Threshold Amount Begins
(for Single, SS, or Head of Household)
$8,270$18,190 $18,190 $18,190
4. Phaseout Amount When Credit Ends
(for Single, SS, or Head of Household)
$14,880$39,296$44,648$47,955
5. Threshold Phaseout Amount Begins
(for Married Filing Jointly)
$13,820$23,740$23,740$23,740
6. Phaseout Amount When Credit Ends
(for Married Filing Jointly)
$20,430$44,846$50,198$53,505

2015 Earned Income Tax Credit (For Returns Filed in 2016)

Income Qualification ItemNo ChildrenWith 1 ChildWith 2 ChildrenWith 3+ Children
1. Maximum 2015 Earned Income Tax Credit Amount$503$3,359$5,548$6,242
2. Earned Income (lower limit) required to get maximum credit $6,580$9,880 $13,870 $13,870
3. Phaseout Threshold Amount Begins
(for Single, SS, or Head of Household)
$8,240$18,110 $18,110$18,110
4. Phaseout Amount When Credit Ends
(for Single, SS, or Head of Household)
$14,820$39,131$44,454$47,747
5. Threshold Phaseout Amount Begins
(for Married Filing Jointly)
$13,760$23,630$23,630$23,630
6. Phaseout Amount When Credit Ends
(for Married Filing Jointly)
$20,340$44,651$49,974$53,267

Example on figuring the EITC: Your AGI is $46,000, you are single, and you have two qualifying children. You cannot claim the EITC because your AGI is not less than the completed (maximum) phase out limit of $44,454. However, if your filing status was married filing jointly, you would be able to claim some of the EITC because your AGI is less than $49,974 complete phase out limit. However, you cannot get the full EITC because your income is above the $23,630 threshold phase amount. Further scenarios are shown below:

Scenario 1: Andrea has an earned income of $1,200 for the year – Andrea would be entitled to a partial credit since she her earned income is less than the “Earned Income (lower limit) required to get maximum credit” per line 2. The amount of credit would vary based on the number of qualifying children. You can reference IRS publication 596 or use online tax providers like TurboTax or H&R Block to get a free estimate of the specific credit amount you would get

Scenario 2:  Rachelle has 1 child and an earned income of 15,000 for the year – Rachelle is entitled to the full EIC credit for a single filer with 2 children since her earned income is above the “Earned Income (lower limit) required to get the maximum credit” on line 2 but below the “Phaseout Threshold Amount Begins” on line 3.

Scenario 3:  Joe and Mary have an earned income of $45,000 and 2 children – Joe and Mary would be entitled to a partial EIC credit for a married couple with 2 children since their earned income is above the “Threshold Phaseout Amount Begins” on line 5 but below the “Phaseout Amount When Credit Ends” on line 6. If your situation is similar reference IRS publication 596 or use online tax providers like TurboTax or H&R Block to get a free estimate of the specific credit amount you would be entitled to.

Scenario 4: Craig and Lina have earned income of $120,000 for the year – They would not be entitled to the credit at all since their earned income is above the “Phaseout Amount When Credit Ends” on line 6

Scenario 5 : Sandy made a little over 9500 for the year and has 3 dependents.  Does she get any of the EIC? To quality for the EITC you need to make just $1 of earned income. The lower and upper end of the income ranges are what matter more for the amount of credit you get. So based on the 2016 EITC table (for 2017 tax filing) and assuming you are married/filing a joint return with 3 deps/children, the max you can make to get any part of the ETIC is $53,505. Incomes between $13,930 and $23,740 get the full EITC ($6,269), but is lower (phases out) between $1 and $13,930 and between $23,740 and $53,505. Since you income is between $1 and $23,740 you would be eligible for a partial credit. You can use any tax filing software to get an exact estimate base on your other tax items.

Also in 2015, the earned income tax credit cannot be claimed if the aggregate amount of certain investment income exceeds $3,400.

Further, you have to file a tax return with the IRS to claim the EITC, even if you owe no tax or are not required to file. You can get help with figuring the EIC by following  instructions in IRS publication 596 or use online tax filing software which can also help you work through figuring your credit eligibility and determine the amount you would receive.

You may also qualify for the Child tax credit in addition to the EIC. See 7 Requirements for the Child Tax Credit

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163 thoughts on “2017, 2016 and 2015 Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC) Qualification Income Limits”

  1. OK question, I’m filing single head of household with 2 children . Filing on a 1099 and on one I made almost 10,000 also have another from a previous employer for about 10,000 est on how much I would get back and should I just file one of the w2’s?? Would I be better off that way??

    Reply
    • u r suppose to file all ur w2 and 1099 misc which u stated both would make ur income @ 20,000 u may only be eligible for 2500, Good Luck!!!

      Reply
  2. I am a single parent of 2 kids 17 and 19 im claiming head of household and I made 16,444 where does that put me?. This chart is confusing to me. Would appreciate any replies Thank you

    Reply
    • You should qualify for the full credit for 2015. See the column (2015 table) for 2 kids. Min amount needed to get the full credit is $13,870. The phase out limit start ($18,110) is when your credit will start reducing. But since you make below this you get the full credit

      Reply
      • Actually, the top end income for a married couple with two kids is ~50k. If 60k is your gross income, then it is possible you will still qualify if your AGI is below the top limit. Complete the forms and see what they say; health insurance premiums and FSA accounts can easily get you below the threshold.

        Reply
  3. Hi I worked only a few days & they took out $74 bucks but $0 in federal. I have a 3month old & a 6yr old will I qualify for the eic? I also use self employment on the side for doing hair. My ago for last year was 9 thousand

    Reply
  4. Last year i did qualify for the tax benefit. However my question is i didnt know about it unttil after i filed my normal tax info i recived a notice in mail. And did another file for credit. Can i file my normal tax form and my tax break on one form. Or separate? I only get 8 hrs a week its all leget i get pay stubbs but its all to go towads my room and board. Taxs still get taking out. Just dont see any money. I get ssi to live with. What do u recommend

    TREVOR

    Reply
  5. I’m on long term disability-threw the Insurance Company that I paid into(same place I got hurt.) waiting for my day in court for my SSI.Every year(I barely make it from month to month.) I end up paying every year.I have no extra money at the end of the month-Morgage payments/and no dependents.What am I going to do-I get $16000.00 a year and end up paying. What am I doing wrong?! Can’t make it by.

    Reply
  6. Okay, I am confused I believe. This is our situation. We are married file jointly. I have no income. However, my husband made around $52,000 in 2015 and we have 5 dependents. How much refund should we get in 2016.

    Reply
    • u only get eic for three kids but u should get the child tax credit and the additional child tax credit but u r close to the phase out limit u may get 2300 plus the other credits

      Reply
  7. I didn’t work at all this year because I was pregnant but I was married in July and our child was born Aug so my husband is wanting to claim us both…will he qualify for eic

    Reply
    • Yes he can claim your child as a dependent but since uve been married he will just file married n fill in u didnt make money n he will get earned income as long as hos AGI follows the chart above if u dnt understand chart i explained it if u scroll down in a comment.

      Reply
  8. So if I made like $8 thousand and something I have 2 dependents would I quality for the full amount or would I only get half of that

    Reply
  9. For those who dont understand chart (it is a lil difficult at first)
    LINE 1= MAX credit you can receive for earned income
    LINE 2=MINIMUM amount of AGI (GROSS INCOME fOR YEAR) to obtain the max payout from line 1
    LINE 3 N UP= MAXIMUM You can make the year to obtain amount above

    So basically follow to number of kids then line to u need to make atleast that much n no more than line 3 n up.

    LINE 3 AND UP is how you will file whether married single or seperate.
    Hope this helps

    Reply
  10. Hi ,
    I’m a single mother of one and made around $44,000 (guesstimating). Do I qualify for the eitc? I also had some difficulty understanding the new table.

    Reply
  11. So I’m a single mother of 2 i only worked half of the year 2015 averaging $7,000. Would I qualify for a full earned income credit and what about an unearned income credit?

    Reply
    • As of chart above no because you didnt make the minimum amount $13,XXX but you can claim side jobs such as baby sitting..yard work ect. To make your AGI higher to get maximum return. If not you will still get money back it just wont be the highest. N even thoufg you didnt pay taxes on side work it will still be in your favor. :)

      Reply
  12. QUESTION?
    Hello,

    I’m a single, unemployed mother of four.
    However, I am a current college student and received my first 2015 financial aid reward return. I also receive monthly SSI pymnts for two of my children.

    My eldest son is twenty years old, has been employed for the past nine months, and one of my children of whom SSI is being received for. He is currently the only one with an earned income aiding over 50% of support towards my household expenses, also assisting with the personal care needs for the family, as my younger three children are twelve, thirteen and fourteen year old minors. My fourteen year old being autistic, and the second to receive SSI benefits.

    I’d like to know if it would be against the law or IRS policy for my eldest son to proceed with filing his first tax, utilizing everyone (all three minors) in the house including head of house if his Total Gross YTD amount earned income is $13,977.28?

    Would I be able to file separate taxes on the SSI amounts received along with the financial reward obtained from college?
    Excluding head of house.

    Please advise, your response is most appreciated.

    Thank you kindly…

    Reply
    • You may file seperately as well as your son may claim siblings on his taxes as dependents if he paid more than half of their expenses.
      but… as for the SSI it would have to be on tax filing with the children receiving it. But i know as far as seperated parents being an example both parents can claim a child for dependents although only 1 will recieve earned income. Im not a professional but i wanted to help u have a better idea of your choices as well as maybe its better for u to claim 1 or 2 children and the oldest son to claim the other 2 or 3. Id suggest turbo tax where u can do it yourself plug in information and test it out doing trial and error where you may see where it will bemefit your family the most. Also just another thing is children can claim parents if they paid more than half there way as well. I hope i helped i know i didnt have total solution but i said what i know.

      Reply
    • You would not get the EITC for SSI because it is not earned income. So unless you have some earnings from work, than your son should claim the 3 dependent sit he provides over 1/2 of their support.

      Reply
    • You would not qualify for the EITC for the SSI because it is Not earned income, so unless you have earnings from work than your son should claim his siblings if he is in fact providing over 50 % of their support.

      Reply
  13. I made right around 3000 with 3 dependents claimed 0 on w-4s will i qualify for eic and child tax credit? I cant understand chart

    Reply
  14. If my income before taxes is 56k I have 4 children- also married filing separate about how much would u figure I’d qualify for?

    Reply
    • Yes, u can still file. However, u should file as dependent and not independent. Answer the question on ur 1040ez as YES. Can someone else claim u on their income tax? This will change u to dependent.

      Reply
  15. My daughter will turn 17 on the 8th of December will her turning that age at the end if 2015 still qualify me for eitc when filing my 2015 tax

    Reply
    • Yes, so long as she lived with you more than half the year. Qualifying children are under 19, so you’ll be able to use it next year, too.

      Reply
  16. I just got married but m husband is not working at all and we have 2 kids so will I be able to get Earn Income Credit and Head of Household

    Reply
    • Martial status according to the IRS is determined by your status the last day of the year. So, if you got married on December 31st, you’re considered married the entire tax year.

      Assuming your kids are minors, yes, you will be able to use the EIC, if you qualify for it. EIC is based on the tax year’s wages, and, if you file jointly, your wages as well. If your husband worked at all, that information will have to be included in your return.

      EIC is phased out based on income.

      Reply
    • If you can work, you’ll earn more after taxes than what you would get depending on the system to provide you with free cash.

      Reply
  17. If I am Head of household and have 3 dependents one is 17 in school,how much is my maximum taxes for the yr 2015 before I go over??

    Reply
  18. If you have no income for the year but have a child who will be around a yr old when it’s tax season an your a single parent never married, d you qualify for earned income credit? Or is it a waist to file…

    Reply
    • *waste, not waist.

      If you have no income, are you a dependent? Will someone else claim you on their return? If so, have that person claim your child as well.

      If not, EIC won’t help much if you have zero income.

      Reply
  19. I am 55 and single. My yearly income should be about 22,000 I live with my mother and help with her care do I quality for eic

    Reply
  20. I made $17,000 this year and had $3,600 taken out of Taxes and I am a single 21 year old living with his father. What’s a rough estimate of how much I will get back? Can someone answer my question? Please and thank you!

    Reply
    • Depends on your state and whether or not you have deductions and exemptions.

      Based entirely on wage alone, it still depends on your state. Google “wage calculator” and estimate your year’s income and taxes taken out.

      Reply
  21. There’s a minor typo in the chart. For couples who file jointly and have no qualifying children, the maximum income for EIC is $20,330, not $20,340.

    Reply
  22. I’m a single, with two children, I file head of household. My income should be about 22,000 this year(2015), will I qualify for earned income credit? I have in the past. This year I was unsure if they were even giving that credit out. Have plans. Thank you.

    Reply
  23. If you only made $250. Is it worth it to file? I have my 2 sons to claim also. I’m currently married but going through a divorce (seperated 5 years) , we are not filing together! Can I claim my disabled (paralyzed) boyfriend too?

    Reply
    • Hi ashley in my opinion it is not worth it to file b/c u don’t have enough income, let someone u trust like mom, sis, bro claim ur 2 sons if they have income like $14000 so that they can get the maximum and share it w/u and the boyfriend b/c he’s disabled can be claimed alone w/the kids good luck!!! reply back if need to.

      Reply
  24. I’m 21 years old and singleI currently live with my mother and my little sister helping them around the house and all those good things I’ve only made 2000 in 2014 I don’t understand the table at all which bracket would I fit in?

    Reply
    • hey rj you would not would not qualified because you have to be 25 to get the credit or have qualifying dependent.

      Reply
    • I was on unemployment for an entire year once and I did not get the EIC . I have two children. I was told that I had no Earned Income so therefore I did not qualify for any credit. I did not owe anything but I got nothing back that year

      Reply
  25. I received a letter from the IRS stating that they adjusted my account to include EIC. It said I will receive my EIC refund within 6 weeks. What does that mean? The company I filed my taxes with told me that it was already included in my refund, and the letter I got was just delayed. But I received the letter 2 weeks after my refund.

    Reply
  26. I have four different w2’s… (1)..126.27—.(2)..944.40—(3)..5501.96.—(4)..7061.17..with no kids not married…am i eligible for EITC?

    Reply
  27. My fiancée and I filed together and we have a 2 year old daughter. Our income together was about 45,000. We didn’t get as much back as I thought we would because the person we filed with said we made too much to file her as eic! Is this true? I am thinking about having it amended and going somewhere else. I feel like we got screwed!

    Reply
    • Lindsey,
      If you are not married, you probably should not have filed a joint return – assuming that is what you filed.

      Filing an amended return:
      If you claimed your daughter and filed as head of household (HH), you would probably qualify for EIC and a greater refund of taxes. Your fiancee would have to file single so his refund may not be as great. Filing HH is generally the best filing status – lower tax rate, greater refunds.

      Reply
      • David, yes you are right in a sense. She could have gotten more back by having one of them file single and the other as head of household but some states allow you to file a joint return even when not married. What some fail to do is whether it is beneficial or not to file jointly. That being said, you really should ask Lindsey how much their income was combined! That’s the bottom line to answering as to why they didn’t get any eic.

        Reply
        • Kylie, what a state allows is irrelevant when it comes to Federal Taxes. State rules are applicable to state taxes only. If you are not married. You are not legally qualified to file a joint return at the federal level.

    • I’m not sure what you mean by filed together because since you weren’t legally married as of Dec. 31, 2014, you cannot file married filing jointly. If you did though, you would not qualify for EIC for one child because your income is over $43,940. You’re not considered very low income.

      Reply
  28. I have 2 kids, made 15,000 last yr and am married but filing seperate, will I qualify for eic? and how does my husbands tax returns being held effect me since we’re seperated?

    Reply
      • Carter if you separated before June 30th, that allows one of you to file head of household with the children and the other to file single. Then you would qualify for eic. If you split after June 30th, go file your taxes together peacefully and ask them to split the refund and deposit it into two separate bank accounts so you guys can get the max benefit that you can and not lose out on your credits. Remember most of us use that refund for our children and that we should be peaceful around children so that they don’t know what’s going on and that you both love them . You guys could file injured spouse as well since you know he has money being held.

        Reply
  29. I work as a bartender making only $5 an hour + tips, there for I only paid in $1.20 to federal. I have one child, I net 2788.00 this year, am I eligible for the earned income credit? I am single, 24 years old, cannot file as head of house.

    Reply
  30. OK I understand the table. My question for you sir regards write-offs. If I made 397 dollars more than the EIC cutoff and I write off gas, food, and expenditures used due to employment and they total more than that 397 dollars would that qualifye for the EIC. I’m filing single HH. Thanks in advance for your help.

    Reply
    • You are clearly itemizing and that deduction could help you get under the phase out, however make sure that you are doing it legally and not just writing in the expenses to get the credit!! They will red flag that and audit you! Once you know how much your itemized deductions are, take that away from your agi and see what that number is. Then go see where you qualify on the eic tables!

      Reply
  31. How can I claim the child support I paid for, and where do I claim my significant other, Cuz I supported him for more than six months in 2014

    Reply
    • You can not claim child support on your taxes (nor does other party have to report it…it sucks), alimony you can claim, but not child support. You can claim insurance paid, daycare, those types of expenses

      Reply
    • My husband made 3,500.00 , got 5,700.00 unemployment and 30,000.00 in retirement…there 3 dependent total ..can we get earn income credit. ..

      Reply
  32. I made 10,317 on my 1040 I lost my job and therefore had to take my 401 k it was 17,000 and 20% of that was held I receive a 1099 on on the 17,000 I have 3 children can I claim the earned income credit or is my 401 considered investment money

    Reply
  33. I’m the head of the household of a family of 5, and the only one working. I’ve had imputed income because my domestic partner has medical ins. Through my employee. With that, it grosses up my gross income so when I file taxes it won’t give me EIC because it looks like I make a lot. Does anyone else have this issue or know what other options to take when it comes to filing taxes?

    Reply
  34. I made this year 42,000 and my wife 7,000. we had a foreclosure many years ago and the mortgage company was sued by the government and we were given 7500 in Jan 2014. It was a settlement for unfair practices which allowed us to buy a house again. Is that taxable? we used the money to renovate the house. If it is do we qualify for earned income. We have 2 kids and file jointly Thanks

    Reply
  35. Hi, i only work 3months period last year..my gross is only $6,745, do u think i am qualify for earned income credit?

    Reply
  36. If my son was born in October of 2014, is he eligible for earned I come credit? I wasn’t sure about the “child must live with parents for 6 months of the year” rule..

    Reply
  37. I,my wife and 14 years old daughter are a permanent resident of the USA as of 9/8/2014 living with my unmarried daughter. I and my wife are unemployed and our daughter is a high school student. Can she file her tax return as head of household including us as her dependents?

    Reply
    • No, she can’t file her own taxes and definitely not file as head of household, unless she’s old enough and have a job that supports you and your wife and if she’s the one that pays more than 50% of your household expenses…

      Reply
    • Yes your unmarried daughter can file you, your wife and your 14 year old daughter. I think people misunderstood your question. As long as your daughter is an adult with a job she can claim you 3

      Reply
  38. If the gross annual income of an individual is at the cusp of not qualifying for child credits will the deduction amt of filing status effect that negatively if the chose MFJ as opposed to MFS? This might be a silly question but I was hoping for some clarification on that topic…as in, does the larger deduction for mfj still play in the taxpayers favor for receiving the child credits by meeting the min income requirments?

    Reply
  39. The article says “Also in 2015, the earned income tax credit cannot be claimed if the aggregate amount of certain investment income exceeds $3,450”. The correct amount is $3,400 not $3,450.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the correction H Pham. I do appreciate when readers let me know of any errors. I have fixed it and confirmed against IRS procedure rp-14-61 which states, “Excessive Investment Income…the earned income tax credit is not allowed under §32(i) if the aggregate amount of certain investment income exceeds $3,400 [in 2015]”

      Reply

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