You can’t be above adjusted gross income limits

In order to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, you cannot exceed maximum adjusted gross income levels. For people without a qualifying child, adjusted gross income must be below $15,270 ($20,950 for a couple). A person with only one qualifying child can have adjusted gross income up to $40,320 ($46,010 for a couple). Those with 2 qualifying children can have adjusted gross income up to $45,802 ($51,492 for a couple). Those with 3 or more qualifying children can have adjusted gross income up to $49,194 ($54,884 for a couple). The figures given here are for tax year 2018. Figures adjust annually.

You must have some earned income

You must have at least some earned income to qualify for an EITC. If you live completely on unearned income (including SSI or SSDI), you are not eligible. You also cannot claim foreign income or have investment income that exceeds $3,500 (for tax year 2018).

You must meet the age requirements

If you do not claim any qualifying children, you must be 25–64 years of age to qualify for an EITC. If you have a qualifying child, there is no age requirement.

Your qualifying children must meet IRS criteria and can only be claimed once

Children must meet IRS relationship, residency, age, and support requirements to be considered “qualifying children” under EITC. Only one family member can claim the qualifying child or children on their tax return.

Married couples must file a joint return

If you’re married, you cannot file your taxes as “married filing separately” and qualify for an EITC. You must file a joint tax return.