The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a cash grant paid at tax time by the federal government.
→ Looking for an overview of the EITC? Check out our article Meet the EITC: Everything you need to know about the Earned Income Tax Credit.
The EITC is a powerful tool to help lift working Americans and their families but here’s the thing: 1 in 5 people who are eligible for the EITC don’t apply for it . This year, let’s help ensure that you understand whether you’re eligible for the EITC. In this article we’ll give you all of the information you need to understand how EITC eligibility works, and the appropriate next steps for you to take.
EITC Eligibility Basics
Here’s your quick stat sheet for checking whether you are eligible for the EITC. We break down each requirement in more detail below. At a high level you probably qualify for the EITC if:
- You make under $57,414 per year
- You have investment income below $10,000 in this tax year
- You have (or will have, by the tax due date of this year) a social security number
- You are a US Citizen or a resident alien for the entire tax year
- You do not have any foreign-earned income
- You are over the age of 19 
Know that you’re eligible now and want to skip ahead? Check out Comity’s Advance Tax Credits, and grab your EITC before tax season.
Your EITC Eligibility Checklist
Eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) depends on a number of factors such as tax filing status, income, and other criteria. Use the below as a checklist for determining whether you are eligible for the EITC.
Filing Status. To be eligible for the EITC you must file your taxes, even if you are not required to file, or you do not owe anything to the IRS. You can file as single, married filing jointly, head of household, or widow(er) with dependent child(ren).
→ You are not eligible for the EITC if you file as “married filing separately” .
Age. The American Rescue Plan, passed in 2021, changed some of the age requirements for the EITC. Under the current law:
- Full or part time workers must be at least 19 to qualify for the EITC
- For students attending school at least half-time, you must be at least 24 to qualify for the EITC
- Former foster children and homeless children must be at least 18 years old to qualify for the EITC 
Income Qualifications. To qualify for the EITC you must have earned income from either a business or a farm (full time, gig jobs, part time, or money made as an independent contractor or self-employed person all qualify as income). The maximum income requirement changes on how you are filing and whether you have children. Use the table below to understand the EITC income requirements .
2021 EITC Income Eligibility Table (for taxes due in 2022) 
2022 EITC Income Eligibility Table (for taxes due in 2023) 
Certain types of income do not count as Earned Income in the eyes of the IRS and cannot be used to qualify for the EITC. The following cannot be used as income to qualify for the EITC:
- Any money you made as an inmate in a penal institution
- Interest and/or dividends
- Pensions and/or annuities
- Social Security
- Unemployment benefits
- Child support 
Investment Requirements. To qualify for the EITC you must have investment income below $10,000 in the previous tax year.
Other Requirements. There are a few other requirements for qualifying for the EITC. They include:
- You must have a valid social security number at the time of filing
- If you are filing as married filing jointly, your spouse must have a valid social security number
- If you are including any dependent children, each child must also have a valid social security number
- You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- You do not have any foreign-earned income
- You cannot be a qualifying child of another person (example: if your mother was filing for the EITC, you would not be able to also file for the EITC) 
Filing for the EITC
Now that you know whether you are eligible for the EITC, here’s how you receive it:
- You file your taxes before Tax Day (the exact date changes every year, but is in mid-April)
- If you owe taxes, the government will first pay itself with your EITC. After paying off any taxes you owe, the remaining EITC is sent to you in your tax refund. If you don’t owe any taxes you’ll receive the full EITC amount.
- The EITC is not considered income. It does not affect your eligibility for food stamps or other federal and state programs. And even better – you don’t have to repay the money that you receive from your EITC!
If you want to receive your EITC before tax season, we’ve got you. Here at Comity (Hi! That’s us!) we make it easier to claim and access your EITC. With the Comity app, you can get up to $500 per month, from your EITC.
We’re taking the money that you’re already eligible for during tax time but making it easier for you to access now, and spend on the items that you and your family need. The money goes into a card that you can use like any other debit or credit card. Comity charges no interest – just a flat 3.75% fee on your spending every month (for most Comity members, that’s $10 or less each month).
Source 1: IRS, EITC Fast Facts.
Source 2: IRS, Who Qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Source 3: IRS, Common Errors for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Source 4: IRS, Publication 596 (2021), Earned Income Credit (EIC).
Source 5: IRS, Earned Income and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Tables.
Source 6: IRS, Income Limits and Range of EITC.
Source 7: IRS, 26 CFR 601.602: Tax forms and instructions, Page 10.
Source 8: IRS, Earned Income and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Tables.
Source 9: IRS, Who Qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).