You can claim the EITC from prior tax years if you missed it previously. It is essential to understand a few things. The income limits for the Earned Income Credit have been adjusted for 2015, so even if you didn’t qualify for the EITC in the past, you may be able to claim it this year. The maximum amount of the credit has also increased.
How to Claim EITC from Prior Tax Years
Many individuals miss out on valuable tax credits because their income was below the amount requiring them to file or they had no taxes withheld from their paychecks. But, you must file a tax return to claim tax benefits such as the EITC, the child tax credit and the education credits. If you filed your own taxes or someone else prepared them for you, you need to file an amended return. Find out if you were eligible for EITC and should file and how to get help below. And, see Ten Facts on Filing an Amended Return.
- For 2011, you need to file your tax return or amend your return before April 17, 2015
- For 2012, you need to file your tax return or amend your return before April 15, 2016
- For 2013, you need to file your tax return or amend your return before April 15, 2017
- For 2014, you need to file your tax return or amend your return before April 15, 2018
- For 2015, you need to file your tax return or amend your return before April 15, 2019
- For 2016, you need to file your tax return or amend your return before April 15, 2020
It’s not too late to file your tax returns for 2013, 2014 and 2015 and claim the EITC and other important tax benefits if you were eligible.
Where to Get Help Preparing Your Tax Forms
Free help preparing your return, all volunteer sites help you prepare your current year tax return and help you determine if you qualify for EITC. Some of the sites also help you claim EITC for earlier years. Find a location for free tax return preparation by volunteers here. If you go to or have a tax return preparer, ask your preparer about your prior year tax returns and check out, I’m Paying Someone to Do My Return, What Should I Know?
Use the EITC Assistant for Prior EITC Years
By answering questions and providing basic income information, you can use our EITC Assistantto:
- find out if you are eligible for EITC;
- determine if your child or children meet the tests for a qualifying child; and
- estimate the amount of your credit.
Make sure you use the right EITC assistant. Income limits and credit amounts change from year to year.
Important Notes on Claiming EITC
- You need to complete the full assistant at one time. When you exit the assistant, all the information you entered is erased.
- You cannot use any income received for work performed while an inmate to claim EITC.This includes amounts for work performed while incarcerated, in a work release program, or while in a halfway house.
- If the IRS audited you and disallowed the EITC, you may have special filing requirements and limitations. See Consequences of Errors on Your EITC Returns.
Disability retirement benefit payments are included in earned income if you are younger than your minimum retirement age (the earliest age you could have received a pension had you not been disabled). After your minimum retirement age, any disability benefit payments will be considered taxable pension payments and may not be counted as earned income. Social Security Disability Insurance and private disability insurance payments for which you paid the premiums are not considered earned income for the purposes of calculating the EITC.
Adopted Children and EITC
If your adopted child has not yet been issued a Social Security Number, he/she may be assigned an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number for tax purposes. Unfortunately, this number may not be used to claim a Qualifying Child for the Earned Income Credit. To claim the EITC, you may file an amended tax return once your child has been assigned their SSN.