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IRS.gov Website
Publication 596
taxmap/pubs/p596-011.htm#en_us_publink1000298552

Chapter 3
Rules If You Do Not Have a Qualifying Child(p15)


Use this chapter if you don't have a qualifying child and have met all the rules in chapter 1. This chapter discusses Rules 11 through 14. You must meet all four of those rules, in addition to the rules in chapters 1 and 4, to qualify for the earned income credit without a qualifying child.
You can file Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040EZ to claim the EIC without a qualifying child. If you meet all the rules in chapter 1 and this chapter, read chapter 4 to find out what to do next.
taxmap/pubs/p596-011.htm#en_us_publink1000298555

If you have a qualifying child. (p15)

rule
If you meet Rule 8, you have a qualifying child. If you meet Rule 8 and don't claim the EIC with a qualifying child, you cannot claim the EIC without a qualifying child.
taxmap/pubs/p596-011.htm#en_us_publink1000298556

Rule 11—You Must Be at Least Age 25 but Under Age 65(p15)

rule
You must be at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of 2015. If you are married filing a joint return, either you or your spouse must be at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of 2015. It doesn't matter which spouse meets the age test, as long as one of the spouses does.
You meet the age test if you were born after December 31, 1950, and before January 2, 1991. If you are married filing a joint return, you meet the age test if either you or your spouse was born after December 31, 1950, and before January 2, 1991.
If neither you nor your spouse meets the age test, you cannot claim the EIC. Put "No" next to line 66a (Form 1040), line 42a (Form 1040A), or line 8a (Form 1040EZ).
taxmap/pubs/p596-011.htm#en_us_publink100020008

Example 1. (p16)

You are age 28 and unmarried. You meet the age test.
taxmap/pubs/p596-011.htm#en_us_publink100020009

Example 2—spouse meets age test. (p16)

You are married and filing a joint return. You are age 23 and your spouse is age 27. You meet the age test because your spouse is at least age 25 but under age 65.
taxmap/pubs/p596-011.htm#en_us_publink1000298558

Death of spouse. (p16)

rule
If you are filing a joint return with your spouse who died in 2015, you meet the age test if your spouse was at least age 25 but under age 65 at the time of death.
Your spouse is considered to reach age 25 on the day before his or her 25th birthday. However, the rule for reaching age 65 is different; your spouse reaches age 65 on his or her 65th birthday.
Even if your spouse was born before January 2, 1991, he or she isn't considered at least age 25 at the end of 2015 unless he or she was at least age 25 at the time of death.
taxmap/pubs/p596-011.htm#en_us_publink100020007

Example 1. (p16)

You are married and filing a joint return with your spouse who died in August 2015. You are age 67. Your spouse would have become age 65 in November 2015. Because your spouse was under age 65 when she died, you meet the age test.
taxmap/pubs/p596-011.htm#en_us_publink100019441

Example 2.(p16)

Your spouse was born on February 14, 1990, and died on February 13, 2015. Your spouse is considered age 25 at the time of death. However, if your spouse died on February 12, 2015, your spouse isn't considered age 25 at the time of death and isn't at least age 25 at the end of 2015.
taxmap/pubs/p596-011.htm#en_us_publink100019442

Death of taxpayer.(p16)

rule
A taxpayer who died in 2015 meets the age test if the taxpayer was at least age 25 but under age 65 at the time of death.
A taxpayer is considered to reach age 25 on the day before his or her 25th birthday. However, the rule for reaching age 65 is different; a taxpayer reaches age 65 on his or her 65th birthday.
Even if the taxpayer was born before January 2, 1991, he or she isn't considered at least age 25 at the end of 2015 unless he or she was at least age 25 at the time of death.