Although you can receive an Earned Income Tax Credit even if you have no children, the largest EITC refunds go to those with at least one qualifying child on their returns.
If you want to claim someone on your taxes as a ‘qualifying child’ in order to get the EITC, you must meet federal guidelines. The IRS establishes three tests to determine whether your child is a so-called ‘qualifying child.’ The three tests examine relationship, age and residency.
According to the IRS, to be considered your ‘qualifying child’ for the EITC, a child must be your:
- son, daughter, stepchild, adopted child, eligible foster child, or a descendant of any of them, such as your grandchild; or
- brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them (such as your nephew or niece)
Relationship, Age and Residency
What this means, thankfully, is that the EITC doesn’t just help parents. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even siblings can get this refundable tax credit, as long as they can claim a ‘qualifying child’ that they lived with for more than half of the year.
Regarding the IRS’s age requirements, you can claim someone as a ‘qualifying child’ for the EITC provided the individual was 18 years of age or younger at the end of the tax year. You can also claim young adults up to and including age 23 if they were a full-time student for at least one semester. Lastly, you can claim someone of any age as a ‘qualifying child’ if that individual is totally disabled.