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In order to be eligible for the earned income credit (EIC) in 2011, you, or your spouse, must earn at least $1 during the year at a job or self-employment, and meet the income requirements. You must have been a U.S. citizen or resident alien during the entire year and you must have a valid Social Security number. If you file a joint return, both spouses must meet these requirements.
If you are claiming the higher credit based on having children, each child must meet certain requirements. The child may be your natural child, grandchild, stepchild, sibling, stepsibling, any descendent of the above treated as the taxpayer's own child, foster child, or adopted child. Your brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, step-brother, step-sister or their descendents may also be eligible as a qualifying child.
The child must be under the age of 19 at the end of 2011. The child must live with you for more than half your tax year. However, if the child is a student he or she may be up to 24 years old. If the child is permanently and totally disabled, age doesn't matter. The child must be younger than you (and your spouse if you file a joint return), unless the child is permanently or totally disabled. A child who is married does not qualify you for the EIC, unless you can claim a dependency exemption for the child. Also, if a child qualifies you for the EIC, that child cannot claim the EIC himself or herself.
A child who is married does not qualify you for the EIC, unless you can claim a dependency exemption for the child. Also, if a child qualifies you for the EIC, that child cannot claim the EIC himself or herself.
If you're married, you must file a joint tax return with your spouse to claim the EIC. Both spouses' income counts in determining the amount of the credit. There's an exception for persons who are treated as unmarried because their spouses have not been a member of the household during the last six months of the tax year; these people can still claim the EIC when they file their tax returns as single or as a head of household.
If two or more taxpayers seek to claim the same child for the EIC (e.g., a parent and grandparent living in the same household with a child) only the person with the highest AGI may claim the credit. If the child spends exactly half the year in each of two households, nobody can claim an EIC based on that child.