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Www irs gov Publication 947 - Main Content Table of Contents Practice Before the IRSWhat Is Practice Before the IRS? Who Can Practice Before the IRS? Who Cannot Practice Before the IRS? How Does an Individual Become Enrolled? What Are the Rules of Practice? Authorizing a RepresentativeWhat Is a Power of Attorney? When Is a Power of Attorney Required? When Is a Power of Attorney Not Required? How Do I Fill Out Form 2848? What Happens to the Power of Attorney When Filed? How To Get Tax HelpLow Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs). Www irs gov Practice Before the IRS The Office of Professional Responsibility and the Return Preparer Office generally are responsible for administering and enforcing the regulations governing practice before the IRS. Www irs gov The Office of Professional Responsibility generally has responsibility for matters related to practitioner conduct and exclusive responsibility for discipline, including disciplinary proceedings and sanctions. Www irs gov The Return Preparer Office is responsible for matters related to the authority to practice, including acting on applications for enrollment and administering competency testing and continuing education. Www irs gov What Is Practice Before the IRS? Practice before the IRS covers all matters relating to any of the following. Www irs gov Communicating with the IRS for a taxpayer regarding the taxpayer's rights, privileges, or liabilities under laws and regulations administered by the IRS. Www irs gov Representing a taxpayer at conferences, hearings, or meetings with the IRS. Www irs gov Preparing and filing documents, including tax returns, with the IRS for a taxpayer. Www irs gov Providing a client with written advice which has a potential for tax avoidance or evasion. Www irs gov Furnishing information at the request of the IRS or appearing as a witness for the taxpayer is not practice before the IRS. Www irs gov Who Can Practice Before the IRS? The following individuals can practice before the IRS. Www irs gov However, any individual who is recognized to practice (a recognized representative) must be designated as the taxpayer's representative and file a written declaration with the IRS stating that he or she is authorized and qualified to represent a particular taxpayer. Www irs gov Form 2848 can be used for this purpose. Www irs gov Attorneys. Www irs gov   Any attorney who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS and who is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any state, possession, territory, commonwealth, or the District of Columbia may practice before the IRS. Www irs gov Certified public accountants (CPAs). Www irs gov   Any CPA who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS and who is duly qualified to practice as a CPA in any state, possession, territory, commonwealth, or the District of Columbia may practice before the IRS. Www irs gov Enrolled agents. Www irs gov   Any enrolled agent in active status who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS may practice before the IRS. Www irs gov Enrolled retirement plan agents. Www irs gov   Any enrolled retirement plan agent in active status who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS may practice before the IRS. Www irs gov The practice of enrolled retirement plan agents is limited to certain Internal Revenue Code sections that relate to their area of expertise, principally those sections governing employee retirement plans. Www irs gov Enrolled actuaries. Www irs gov   Any individual who is enrolled as an actuary by the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS may practice before the IRS. Www irs gov The practice of enrolled actuaries is limited to certain Internal Revenue Code sections that relate to their area of expertise, principally those sections governing employee retirement plans. Www irs gov Student. Www irs gov    Under certain circumstances, a student who is supervised by a practitioner may request permission to represent another person before the IRS. Www irs gov For more information, see Authorization for special appearances, later. Www irs gov Registered tax return preparers and unenrolled return preparers. Www irs gov   A registered tax return preparer is an individual who has passed an IRS competency test and is authorized to prepare and sign tax returns as the preparer. Www irs gov An unenrolled return preparer is an individual other than an attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or enrolled actuary who prepares and signs a taxpayer's return as the preparer, or who prepares a return but is not required (by the instructions to the return or regulations) to sign the return. Www irs gov   Registered tax return preparers and unenrolled return preparers may only represent taxpayers before revenue agents, customer service representatives, or similar officers and employees of the Internal Revenue Service (including the Taxpayer Advocate Service) during an examination of the taxable year or period covered by the tax return they prepared and signed. Www irs gov Registered tax return preparers and unenrolled return preparers cannot represent taxpayers, regardless of the circumstances requiring representation, before appeals officers, revenue officers, counsel or similar officers or employees of the Internal Revenue Service or the Department of Treasury. Www irs gov Registered tax return preparers and unenrolled return preparers cannot execute closing agreements, extend the statutory period for tax assessments or collection of tax, execute waivers, execute claims for refund, or sign any document on behalf of a taxpayer. Www irs gov   If the unenrolled return preparer does not meet the requirements for limited representation, you may file Form 8821 to allow the preparer to inspect your tax information and receive copies of notices sent to you by the IRS. Www irs gov See Form 8821. Www irs gov Practice denied. Www irs gov   Any individual engaged in limited practice before the IRS who is involved in disreputable conduct is subject to disciplinary action. Www irs gov Disreputable conduct includes, but is not limited to, the list of items under Incompetence and Disreputable Conduct shown later under What Are the Rules of Practice. Www irs gov Other individuals who may serve as representatives. Www irs gov   Because of their special relationship with a taxpayer, the following individuals can represent the specified taxpayers before the IRS, provided they present satisfactory identification and, except in the case of an individual described in (1) below, proof of authority to represent the taxpayer. Www irs gov An individual. Www irs gov An individual can represent himself or herself before the IRS and does not have to file a written declaration of qualification and authority. Www irs gov A family member. Www irs gov An individual can represent members of his or her immediate family. Www irs gov Immediate family includes a spouse, child, parent, brother, or sister of the individual. Www irs gov An officer. Www irs gov A bona fide officer of a corporation (including a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliated corporation), association, or organized group can represent the corporation, association, or organized group. Www irs gov An officer of a governmental unit, agency, or authority, in the course of his or her official duties, can represent the organization before the IRS. Www irs gov A partner. Www irs gov A general partner may represent the partnership before the IRS. Www irs gov An employee. Www irs gov A regular full-time employee can represent his or her employer. Www irs gov An employer can be, but is not limited to, an individual, partnership, corporation (including a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliated corporation), association, trust, receivership, guardianship, estate, organized group, governmental unit, agency, or authority. Www irs gov A fiduciary. Www irs gov A fiduciary (trustee, executor, personal representative, administrator, receiver, or guardian) stands in the position of a taxpayer and acts as the taxpayer, not as a representative. Www irs gov See Fiduciary under When Is a Power of Attorney Not Required, later. Www irs gov Representation Outside the United States Any individual may represent an individual or entity, who is outside the United States, before personnel of the IRS when such representation occurs outside the United States. Www irs gov See section 10. Www irs gov 7(c)(1)(vii) of Circular 230. Www irs gov Authorization for Special Appearances The Commissioner of Internal Revenue, or delegate, can authorize an individual who is not otherwise eligible to practice before the IRS to represent another person for a particular matter. Www irs gov The prospective representative must request this authorization in writing from the Office of Professional Responsibility. Www irs gov However, it is granted only when extremely compelling circumstances exist. Www irs gov If granted, the Commissioner, or delegate, will issue a letter that details the conditions related to the appearance and the particular tax matter for which the authorization is granted. Www irs gov The authorization letter should not be confused with a letter from an IRS center advising an individual that he or she has been assigned a Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number. Www irs gov The issuance of a CAF number does not indicate that an individual is either recognized or authorized to practice before the IRS. Www irs gov It merely confirms that a centralized file for authorizations has been established for the individual under that number. Www irs gov Students in LITCs and the STCP. Www irs gov   A student who works in a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) or Student Tax Clinic Program (STCP) who is supervised by a practitioner may request permission to represent another person before the IRS. Www irs gov Authorization requests must be made to the Office of Professional Responsibility. Www irs gov If granted, a letter authorizing the student's special appearance and detailing any conditions related to the appearance will be issued. Www irs gov Students receiving an authorization letter generally can represent taxpayers before any IRS function or office subject to any conditions in the authorization letter. Www irs gov If you intend to have a student represent you, review the authorization letter and ask your student, your student's supervisor, or the Office of Professional Responsibility if you have questions about the terms of the authorization. Www irs gov Who Cannot Practice Before the IRS? In general, individuals who are not eligible or who have lost the privilege as a result of certain actions cannot practice before the IRS. Www irs gov If an individual loses eligibility to practice, the IRS will not recognize a power of attorney that names the individual as a representative. Www irs gov Corporations, associations, partnerships, and other persons that are not individuals. Www irs gov   These organizations (or persons) are not eligible to practice before the IRS. Www irs gov Loss of Eligibility Generally, individuals lose their eligibility to practice before the IRS in the following ways. Www irs gov Not meeting the requirements for renewal of enrollment (such as continuing professional education). Www irs gov Requesting to be placed in inactive retirement status. Www irs gov Being suspended or disbarred by the Office of Professional Responsibility for violating the regulations governing practice before the IRS. Www irs gov Failure to meet requirements. Www irs gov   Individuals who fail to comply with the requirements for eligibility for renewal of enrollment will be notified by the IRS. Www irs gov The notice will explain the reason for noncompliance and provide the individual with an opportunity to furnish information for reconsideration. Www irs gov The individual has 60 days from the date of the notice to respond. Www irs gov Inactive roster. Www irs gov   An individual will be placed on the roster of inactive individuals for a period of three years, if he or she: Fails to respond timely to the notice of noncompliance with the renewal requirements, Fails to file timely the application for renewal, or Does not satisfy the requirements of eligibility for renewal. Www irs gov The individual must file an application for renewal and satisfy all requirements for renewal after being placed in inactive status. Www irs gov Otherwise, at the conclusion of the next renewal cycle, he or she will be removed from the roster and the enrollment or registration terminated. Www irs gov Inactive retirement status. Www irs gov   Individuals who request to be placed in an inactive retirement status will be ineligible to practice before the IRS. Www irs gov They must continue to adhere to all renewal requirements. Www irs gov They can be reinstated to an active enrollment status by filing an application for renewal and providing evidence that they have completed the required continuing professional education hours for the enrollment cycle or registration year. Www irs gov Suspension and disbarment. Www irs gov   Individuals authorized to practice before the IRS are subject to disciplinary proceedings and may be suspended or disbarred for violating any regulation governing practice before the IRS. Www irs gov This includes engaging in acts of disreputable conduct. Www irs gov For more information, see Incompetence and Disreputable Conduct under What are the Rules of Practice, later. Www irs gov   Practitioners who are suspended in a disciplinary proceeding are not allowed to practice before the IRS during the period of suspension. Www irs gov See What Is Practice Before the IRS, earlier. Www irs gov   Practitioners who are disbarred in a disciplinary proceeding are not allowed to practice before the IRS. Www irs gov However, a practitioner can seek reinstatement from the Office of Professional Responsibility five years after disbarment. Www irs gov   If the practitioner seeks reinstatement, he or she may not practice before the IRS until the Office of Professional Responsibility authorizes reinstatement. Www irs gov The Office of Professional Responsibility may reinstate the practitioner if it is determined that: The practitioner's future conduct is not likely to be in violation of the regulations, and Granting the reinstatement would not be contrary to the public interest. Www irs gov How Does an Individual Become Enrolled? The Return Preparer Office can grant enrollment to practice before the IRS to an applicant who demonstrates special competence in tax matters by passing a written examination administered by the IRS. Www irs gov Enrollment also can be granted to an applicant who qualifies because of past service and technical experience in the IRS. Www irs gov In either case, certain application forms, discussed next, must be filed. Www irs gov Additionally, an applicant must not have engaged in any conduct that would justify suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS. Www irs gov See Incompetence and Disreputable Conduct, later. Www irs gov Form 2587. Www irs gov   Applicants can apply to take the special enrollment examination by filing Form 2587, Application for Special Enrollment Examination. Www irs gov Form 2587 can be filed online, by mail, or by fax. Www irs gov For more information, see instructions and fees listed on the form. Www irs gov To get Form 2587, see How To Get Tax Help, later. Www irs gov Form 23 and Form 23-EP. Www irs gov   Individuals who have passed the examination or are applying on the basis of past service and technical experience with the IRS can apply for enrollment by filing Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service, or Form 23-EP, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service as an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent. Www irs gov The application must include a check or money order in the amount of the fee shown on Form 23 or Form 23-EP. Www irs gov Alternatively, payment may be made electronically pursuant to instructions on the forms. Www irs gov To get Form 23 or Form 23-EP, see How To Get Tax Help, later. Www irs gov Form 5434. Www irs gov   An individual may apply as an enrolled actuary on the basis of past employment with the IRS and technical experience by filing Form 5434, Application for Enrollment, with the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries. Www irs gov The application must include a check or money order in the amount of the fee shown on Form 5434. Www irs gov To get Form 5434, see How To Get Tax Help, later. Www irs gov Period of enrollment. Www irs gov   An enrollment card will be issued to each individual whose enrollment application is approved. Www irs gov The individual is enrolled until the expiration date shown on the enrollment card or certificate. Www irs gov To continue practicing beyond the expiration date, the individual must request renewal of the enrollment by filing Form 8554, Application for Renewal of Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service, or Form 8554-EP, Application for Renewal of Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service as an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA). Www irs gov What Are the Rules of Practice? The rules governing practice before the IRS are published in the Code of Federal Regulations at 31 C. Www irs gov F. Www irs gov R. Www irs gov part 10 and reprinted in Treasury Department Circular No. Www irs gov 230 (Circular 230). Www irs gov An attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, registered tax return preparer, or enrolled actuary authorized to practice before the IRS (referred to hereafter as a practitioner) has the duty to perform certain acts and is restricted from performing other acts. Www irs gov In addition, a practitioner cannot engage in disreputable conduct (discussed later). Www irs gov Any practitioner who does not comply with the rules of practice or engages in disreputable conduct is subject to disciplinary action. Www irs gov Also, unenrolled preparers must comply with the rules of practice and conduct to exercise the privilege of limited practice before the IRS. Www irs gov See Publication 470 for a discussion of the special rules for limited practice by unenrolled preparers. Www irs gov Duties Practitioners must promptly submit records or information requested by officers or employees of the IRS, except when the practitioner believes on reasonable belief and good faith that the information is privileged. Www irs gov Communications with respect to tax advice between a federally authorized tax practitioner and a taxpayer generally are confidential to the same extent that communication would be privileged if it were between a taxpayer and an attorney if the advice relates to: Noncriminal tax matters before the IRS, or Noncriminal tax proceedings brought in federal court by or against the United States. Www irs gov Communications regarding corporate tax shelters. Www irs gov   This protection of tax advice communications does not apply to any written communications between a federally authorized tax practitioner and any person, including a director, shareholder, officer, employee, agent, or representative of a corporation if the communication involves the promotion of the direct or indirect participation of the corporation in any tax shelter. Www irs gov Duty to advise. Www irs gov   A practitioner who knows that his or her client has not complied with the revenue laws or has made an error or omission in any return, document, affidavit, or other required paper, has the responsibility to advise the client promptly of the noncompliance, error, or omission, and the consequences of the noncompliance, error, or omission. Www irs gov Due diligence. Www irs gov   A practitioner must exercise due diligence when performing the following duties. Www irs gov Preparing or assisting in the preparing, approving, and filing of returns, documents, affidavits, and other papers relating to IRS matters. Www irs gov Determining the correctness of oral or written representations made by him or her to the Department of the Treasury. Www irs gov Determining the correctness of oral or written representations made by him or her to clients with reference to any matter administered by the IRS. Www irs gov Restrictions Practitioners are restricted from engaging in certain practices. Www irs gov The following paragraphs discuss some of these restricted practices. Www irs gov Delays. Www irs gov   A practitioner must not unreasonably delay the prompt disposition of any matter before the IRS. Www irs gov Assistance from disbarred or suspended persons and former IRS employees. Www irs gov   A practitioner must not knowingly, directly or indirectly, do the following. Www irs gov Accept assistance from, or assist, any person who is under disbarment or suspension from practice before the IRS if the assistance relates to matters considered practice before the IRS. Www irs gov Accept assistance from any former government employee where provisions of Circular 230 or any federal law would be violated. Www irs gov Performance as a notary. Www irs gov   A practitioner who is a notary public and is employed as counsel, attorney, or agent in a matter before the IRS, or has a material interest in the matter, cannot engage in any notary activities related to that matter. Www irs gov Negotiations of taxpayer refund checks. Www irs gov   Practitioners must not endorse or otherwise negotiate (cash) any refund check (including directing or accepting payment by any means, electronic or otherwise, in an account owned or controlled by the practitioner or any firm or other entity with whom the practitioner is associated) issued to the taxpayer. Www irs gov Incompetence and Disreputable Conduct Any practitioner or unenrolled return preparer may be disbarred or suspended from practice before the IRS, or censured, for incompetence or disreputable conduct. Www irs gov The following list contains examples of conduct that is considered disreputable. Www irs gov Being convicted of any criminal offense under the revenue laws or of any offense involving dishonesty or breach of trust. Www irs gov Knowingly giving false or misleading information in connection with federal tax matters, or participating in such activity. Www irs gov Soliciting employment by prohibited means as discussed in section 10. Www irs gov 30 of Circular 230. Www irs gov Willfully failing to file a federal tax return, evading or attempting to evade any federal tax or payment, or participating in such actions. Www irs gov Misappropriating, or failing to properly and promptly remit, funds received from clients for payment of taxes or other obligations due the United States. Www irs gov Directly or indirectly attempting to influence the official action of IRS employees by the use of threats, false accusations, duress, or coercion, or by offering gifts, favors, or any special inducements. Www irs gov Being disbarred or suspended from practice as an attorney, CPA, public accountant, or actuary, by the District of Columbia or any state, possession, territory, commonwealth, or any federal court, or any federal agency, body, or board. Www irs gov Knowingly aiding and abetting another person to practice before the IRS during a period of suspension, disbarment, or ineligibility of that other person. Www irs gov Using abusive language, making false accusations and statements knowing them to be false, circulating or publishing malicious or libelous matter, or engaging in any contemptuous conduct in connection with practice before the IRS. Www irs gov Giving a false opinion knowingly, recklessly, or through gross incompetence; or following a pattern of providing incompetent opinions in questions arising under the federal tax laws. Www irs gov Censure, Disbarments, and Suspensions The Office of Professional Responsibility may censure or institute proceedings to censure, suspend or disbar any attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent who has violated Circular 230. Www irs gov A practitioner will be given the opportunity to demonstrate compliance with the rules before any disciplinary action is taken. Www irs gov Authorizing a Representative You may either represent yourself, or you may authorize an individual to represent you before the IRS. Www irs gov If you chose to have someone represent you, your representative must be a person eligible to practice before the IRS. Www irs gov See Who Can Practice Before the IRS, earlier. Www irs gov What Is a Power of Attorney? A power of attorney is your written authorization for an individual to act on your behalf. Www irs gov If the authorization is not limited, the individual generally can perform all acts that you can perform. Www irs gov The authority granted to a registered tax return preparer or an unenrolled preparer is limited. Www irs gov For information on the limits regarding registered tax return preparers, see Circular 230 §10. Www irs gov 3(f). Www irs gov For information on the limits regarding unenrolled preparers, see Publication 470. Www irs gov Acts performed. Www irs gov   Any representative, other than a registered tax return preparer or an unenrolled return preparer, can usually perform the following acts. Www irs gov Represent you before any office of the IRS. Www irs gov Sign an offer or a waiver of restriction on assessment or collection of a tax deficiency, or a waiver of notice of disallowance of claim for credit or refund. Www irs gov Sign a consent to extend the statutory time period for assessment or collection of a tax. Www irs gov Sign a closing agreement. Www irs gov Signing your return. Www irs gov   The representative named under a power of attorney is not permitted to sign your income tax return unless: The signature is permitted under the Internal Revenue Code and the related regulations (see Regulations section 1. Www irs gov 6012-1(a)(5)). Www irs gov You specifically authorize this in your power of attorney. Www irs gov For example, the regulation permits a representative to sign your return if you are unable to sign the return due to: Disease or injury. Www irs gov Continuous absence from the United States (including Puerto Rico) for a period of at least 60 days prior to the date required by law for filing the return. Www irs gov Other good cause if specific permission is requested of and granted by the IRS. Www irs gov When a return is signed by a representative, it must be accompanied by a power of attorney (or copy) authorizing the representative to sign the return. Www irs gov For more information, see the Form 2848 instructions. Www irs gov Limitation on substitution or delegation. Www irs gov   A recognized representative can substitute or delegate authority under the power of attorney to another recognized representative only if the act is specifically authorized by you on the power of attorney. Www irs gov   After a substitution has been made, only the newly recognized representative will be recognized as the taxpayer's representative. Www irs gov If a delegation of power has been made, both the original and the delegated representative will be recognized by the IRS to represent you. Www irs gov Disclosure of returns to a third party. Www irs gov   Your representative cannot execute consents that will allow the IRS to disclose tax return or return information to a third party unless you specifically delegate this authority to your representative on line 5 of Form 2848. Www irs gov Incapacity or incompetency. Www irs gov   A power of attorney is generally terminated if you become incapacitated or incompetent. Www irs gov   The power of attorney can continue, however, in the case of your incapacity or incompetency if you authorize this on line 5 “Other” of the Form 2848 and if your non-IRS durable power of attorney meets all the requirements for acceptance by the IRS. Www irs gov See Non-IRS powers of attorney, later. Www irs gov When Is a Power of Attorney Required? Submit a power of attorney when you want to authorize an individual to represent you before the IRS, whether or not the representative performs any of the other acts cited earlier under What Is a Power of Attorney. Www irs gov A power of attorney is most often required when you want to authorize another individual to perform at least one of the following acts on your behalf. Www irs gov Represent you at a meeting with the IRS. Www irs gov Prepare and file a written response to the IRS. Www irs gov Form Required Use Form 2848 to appoint a recognized representative to act on your behalf before the IRS. Www irs gov Individuals recognized to practice before the IRS are listed under Part II, Declaration of Representative, of Form 2848. Www irs gov Your representative must complete that part of the form. Www irs gov Non-IRS powers of attorney. Www irs gov   The IRS will accept a non-IRS power of attorney, but a completed Form 2848 must be attached in order for the power of attorney to be entered on the Centralized Authorization File (CAF) system. Www irs gov For more information, see Processing a non-IRS power of attorney, later. Www irs gov   If you want to use a power of attorney document other than Form 2848, it must contain the following information. Www irs gov Your name and mailing address. Www irs gov Your social security number and/or employer identification number. Www irs gov Your employee plan number, if applicable. Www irs gov The name and mailing address of your representative(s). Www irs gov The types of tax involved. Www irs gov The federal tax form number. Www irs gov The specific year(s) or period(s) involved. Www irs gov For estate tax matters, the decedent's date of death. Www irs gov A clear expression of your intention concerning the scope of authority granted to your representative(s). Www irs gov Your signature and date. Www irs gov You also must attach to the non-IRS power of attorney a signed and dated statement made by your representative. Www irs gov This statement, which is referred to as the Declaration of Representative, is contained in Part II of Form 2848. Www irs gov The statement should read: I am not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the Internal Revenue Service or other practice of my profession by any other authority, I am aware of the regulations contained in Circular 230, I am authorized to represent the taxpayer(s) identified in the power of attorney, and I am an individual described in 26 CFR 601. Www irs gov 502(b). Www irs gov Required information missing. Www irs gov   The IRS will not accept your non-IRS power of attorney if it does not contain all the information listed above. Www irs gov You can sign and submit a completed Form 2848 or a new non-IRS power of attorney that contains all the information. Www irs gov If you cannot sign an acceptable replacement document, your attorney-in-fact may be able to perfect (make acceptable to the IRS) your non-IRS power of attorney by using the procedure described next. Www irs gov Procedure for perfecting a non-IRS power of attorney. Www irs gov   Under the following conditions, the attorney-in-fact named in your non-IRS power of attorney can sign a Form 2848 on your behalf. Www irs gov The original non-IRS power of attorney grants authority to handle federal tax matters (for example, general authority to perform any acts). Www irs gov The attorney-in-fact attaches a statement (signed under penalty of perjury) to the Form 2848 stating that the original non-IRS power of attorney is valid under the laws of the governing jurisdiction. Www irs gov Example. Www irs gov John Elm, a taxpayer, signs a non-IRS durable power of attorney that names his neighbor and CPA, Ed Larch, as his attorney-in-fact. Www irs gov The power of attorney grants Ed the authority to perform any and all acts on John's behalf. Www irs gov However, it does not list specific tax-related information such as types of tax or tax form numbers. Www irs gov Shortly after John signs the power of attorney, he is declared incompetent. Www irs gov Later, a federal tax matter arises concerning a prior year return filed by John. Www irs gov Ed attempts to represent John before the IRS but is rejected because the durable power of attorney does not contain required information. Www irs gov If Ed attaches a statement (signed under the penalty of perjury) that the durable power of attorney is valid under the laws of the governing jurisdiction, he can sign a completed Form 2848 and submit it on John's behalf. Www irs gov If Ed can practice before the IRS (see Who Can Practice Before the IRS, earlier), he can name himself as representative on Form 2848. Www irs gov Otherwise, he must name another individual who can practice before the IRS. Www irs gov Processing a non-IRS power of attorney. Www irs gov   The IRS has a centralized computer database system called the CAF system. Www irs gov This system contains information on the authority of taxpayer representatives. Www irs gov Generally, when you submit a power of attorney document to the IRS, it is processed for inclusion on the CAF system. Www irs gov Entry of your power of attorney on the CAF system enables IRS personnel, who do not have a copy of your power of attorney, to verify the authority of your representative by accessing the CAF. Www irs gov It also enables the IRS to automatically send copies of notices and other IRS communications to your representative if you specify that your representative should receive those communications. Www irs gov   You can have your non-IRS power of attorney entered on the CAF system by attaching it to a completed Form 2848 and submitting it to the IRS. Www irs gov Your signature is not required; however, your attorney-in-fact must sign the Declaration of Representative (see Part II of Form 2848). Www irs gov Preparation of Form — Helpful Hints The preparation of Form 2848 is illustrated by an example, later under How Do I Fill Out Form 2848. Www irs gov However, the following will also assist you in preparing the form. Www irs gov Line-by-line hints. Www irs gov   The following hints are summaries of some of the line-by-line instructions for Form 2848. Www irs gov Line 1—Taxpayer information. Www irs gov   If a joint return is involved, the husband and wife each file a separate Form 2848 if they both want to be represented. Www irs gov If only one spouse wants to be represented in the matter, that spouse files a Form 2848. Www irs gov Line 2—Representative(s). Www irs gov   Only individuals may be named as representatives. Www irs gov If your representative has not been assigned a CAF number, enter “None” on that line and the IRS will issue one to your representative. Www irs gov If the representative's address or phone number has changed since the CAF number was issued, you should check the appropriate box. Www irs gov Enter your representative's fax number if available. Www irs gov   If you want to name more than three representatives, attach additional Form(s) 2848. Www irs gov The IRS can send copies of notices and communications to two of your representatives. Www irs gov You must, however, check the boxes on line 2 of the Form 2848 if you want the IRS to routinely send copies of notices and communications to your representatives. Www irs gov If you do not check the boxes, your representatives will not routinely receive copies of notices and communications. Www irs gov Line 3—Tax matters. Www irs gov   You may list any tax years or periods that have already ended as of the date you sign the power of attorney. Www irs gov However, you may include on a power of attorney only future tax periods that end no later than 3 years after the date the power of attorney is received by the IRS. Www irs gov The 3 future periods are determined starting after December 31 of the year the power of attorney is received by the IRS. Www irs gov However, avoid general references such as “all years” or “all taxes. Www irs gov ” Any Form 2848 with general references will be returned. Www irs gov Line 4—Specific use not recorded on Centralized Authorization File (CAF). Www irs gov   Certain matters cannot be recorded on the CAF system. Www irs gov Examples of such matters include, but are not limited to, the following. Www irs gov Requests for a private letter ruling or technical advice. Www irs gov Applications for an employer identification number (EIN). Www irs gov Claims filed on Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement. Www irs gov Corporate dissolutions. Www irs gov Requests for change of accounting method. Www irs gov Requests for change of accounting period. Www irs gov Applications for recognition of exemption under sections 501(c)(3), 501(a), or 521 (Forms 1023, 1034, or 1028). Www irs gov Request for a determination of the qualified status of an employee benefit plan (Forms 5300, 5307, or 5310). Www irs gov Application for Award for Original Information under section 7623. Www irs gov Voluntary submissions under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS). Www irs gov Freedom of Information Act requests. Www irs gov If the tax matter described on line 3 of Form 2848 concerns one of these matters specifically, check the box on line 4. Www irs gov If this box is checked, the representative should mail or fax the power of attorney to the IRS office handling the matter. Www irs gov Otherwise, the representative should bring a copy of the power of attorney to each meeting with the IRS. Www irs gov Where To File a Power of Attorney Generally, you can mail or fax a paper Form 2848 directly to the IRS. Www irs gov To determine where you should file Form 2848, see Where To File in the instructions for Form 2848. Www irs gov If Form 2848 is for a specific use, mail or fax it to the office handling that matter. Www irs gov For more information on specific use, see the Instructions for Form 2848, line 4. Www irs gov FAX copies. Www irs gov   The IRS will accept a copy of a power of attorney that is submitted by facsimile transmission (fax). Www irs gov If you choose to file a power of attorney by fax, be sure the appropriate IRS office is equipped to accept this type of transmission. Www irs gov Your representative may be able to file Form 2848 electronically via the IRS website. Www irs gov For more information, your representative can go to www. Www irs gov irs. Www irs gov gov and under the Tax Professionals tab, click on e-services–Online Tools for Tax Professionals. Www irs gov If you complete Form 2848 for electronic signature authorization, do not file Form 2848 with the IRS. Www irs gov Instead, give it to your representative, who will retain the document. Www irs gov Updating a power of attorney. Www irs gov   Submit any update or modification to an existing power of attorney in writing. Www irs gov Your signature (or the signature of the individual(s) authorized to sign on your behalf) is required. Www irs gov Do this by sending the updated Form 2848 or non-IRS power of attorney to the IRS office(s) where you previously sent the original(s), including the center where the related return was, or will be filed. Www irs gov   A recognized representative may substitute or delegate authority if you specifically authorize your representative to substitute or delegate representation in the original power of attorney. Www irs gov To make a substitution or delegation, the representative must file the following items with the IRS office(s) where the power of attorney was filed. Www irs gov A written notice of substitution or delegation signed by the recognized representative. Www irs gov A written declaration of representative made by the new representative. Www irs gov A copy of the power of attorney that specifically authorizes the substitution or delegation. Www irs gov Retention/Revocation of Prior Power(s) of Attorney A newly filed power of attorney concerning the same matter will revoke a previously filed power of attorney. Www irs gov However, the new power of attorney will not revoke the prior power of attorney if it specifically states it does not revoke such prior power of attorney and either of the following are attached to the new power of attorney. Www irs gov A copy of the unrevoked prior power of attorney, or A statement signed by the taxpayer listing the name and address of each representative authorized under the prior unrevoked power of attorney. Www irs gov Note. Www irs gov The filing of Form 2848 will not revoke any  Form 8821 that is in effect. Www irs gov Revocation of Power of Attorney/Withdrawal of Representative If you want to revoke an existing power of attorney and do not want to name a new representative, or if a representative wants to withdraw from representation, mail or fax a copy of the previously executed power of attorney to the IRS, or if the power of attorney is for a specific matter, to the IRS office handling the matter. Www irs gov If the taxpayer is revoking the power of attorney, the taxpayer must write “REVOKE” across the top of the first page with a current signature and date below this annotation. Www irs gov If the representative is withdrawing from the representation, the representative must write “WITHDRAW” across the top of the first page with a current signature and date below this annotation. Www irs gov If you do not have a copy of the power of attorney you want to revoke or withdraw, send a statement to the IRS. Www irs gov The statement of revocation or withdrawal must indicate that the authority of the power of attorney is revoked or withdrawn, list the matters and periods, and must be signed and dated by the taxpayer or representative as applicable. Www irs gov If the taxpayer is revoking, list the name and address of each recognized representative whose authority is revoked. Www irs gov When the taxpayer is completely revoking authority, the form should state “remove all years/periods” instead of listing the specific tax matter, years, or periods. Www irs gov If the representative is withdrawing, list the name, TIN, and address (if known) of the taxpayer. Www irs gov To revoke a specific use power of attorney, send the power of attorney or statement of revocation to the IRS office handling your case, using the above instructions. Www irs gov A power of attorney held by a student will be recorded on the CAF system for 130 days from the receipt date. Www irs gov If you are authorizing a student to represent you after that time, you will need to submit a current and valid Form 2848. Www irs gov When Is a Power of Attorney Not Required? A power of attorney is not required when the third party is not dealing with the IRS as your representative. Www irs gov The following situations do not require a power of attorney. Www irs gov Providing information to the IRS. Www irs gov Authorizing the disclosure of tax return information through Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, or other written or oral disclosure consent. Www irs gov Allowing the IRS to discuss return information with a third party via the checkbox provided on a tax return or other document. Www irs gov Allowing a tax matters partner or person (TMP) to perform acts for the partnership. Www irs gov Allowing the IRS to discuss return information with a fiduciary. Www irs gov How Do I Fill Out Form 2848? The following example illustrates how to complete Form 2848. Www irs gov The two completed forms for this example are shown on the next pages. Www irs gov Example. Www irs gov Stan and Mary Doe have been notified that their joint tax returns (Forms 1040) for 2009, 2010, and 2011 are being examined. Www irs gov They have decided to appoint Jim Smith, an enrolled agent, to represent them in this matter and any future matters concerning these returns. Www irs gov Jim, who has prepared returns at the same location for years, already has a Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number assigned to him. Www irs gov Mary does not want Jim to sign any agreements on her behalf, but Stan is willing to have Jim do so. Www irs gov They want copies of all notices and written communications sent to Jim. Www irs gov This is the first time Stan and Mary have given power of attorney to anyone. Www irs gov They should each complete a Form 2848 as follows. Www irs gov Line 1—Taxpayer information. Www irs gov   Stan and Mary must each file a separate Form 2848. Www irs gov On his separate Form 2848, Stan enters his name, street address, and social security number in the spaces provided. Www irs gov Mary does likewise on her separate Form 2848. Www irs gov Line 2—Representative(s). Www irs gov   On their separate Forms 2848, Stan and Mary each enters the name and current address of their chosen representative, Jim Smith. Www irs gov Both Stan and Mary want Jim Smith to receive notices and communications concerning the matters identified in line 3, so on their separate Forms 2848, Stan and Mary each checks the box in the first column of line 2. Www irs gov They also enter Mr. Www irs gov Smith's CAF number, his telephone number, and his fax number. Www irs gov Mr. Www irs gov Smith's address, telephone number, and fax number have not changed since the IRS issued his CAF number, so Stan and Mary do not check the boxes in the second column. Www irs gov Line 3—Tax Matters. Www irs gov   On their separate Forms 2848, Stan and Mary each enters “income” for the type of tax, “1040” for the form number, and “2009, 2010, and 2011” for the tax years. Www irs gov Line 4—Specific use not recorded on Centralized Authorization File (CAF). Www irs gov   On their separate Forms 2848, Stan and Mary make no entry on this line because they do not want to restrict the use of their powers of attorney to a specific use that is not recorded on the CAF. Www irs gov See Preparation of Form — Helpful Hints, earlier. Www irs gov Line 5—Acts authorized. Www irs gov   Mary wants to sign any agreement that reflects changes to her and Stan's joint 2009, 2010, and 2011 income tax liability, so she writes “Taxpayer must sign any agreement form” on line 5 of her Form 2848. Www irs gov Stan does not wish to restrict the authority of Jim Smith in this regard, so he leaves line 5 of his Form 2848 blank. Www irs gov If either Mary or Stan had chosen, they could have listed other restrictions on line 5 of their separate Forms 2848. Www irs gov Line 6—Retention/revocation of prior power(s) of attorney. Www irs gov   Stan and Mary are each filing their first powers of attorney, so they make no entry on this line. Www irs gov However, if they had filed prior powers of attorney, the filing of this current power would revoke any earlier ones for the same tax matter(s) unless they checked the box on line 6 and attached a copy of the prior power of attorney that they wanted to remain in effect. Www irs gov   If Mary later decides that she can handle the examination on her own, she can revoke her power of attorney even though Stan does not revoke his power of attorney. Www irs gov (See Revocation of Power of Attorney/Withdrawal of Representative, earlier, for the special rules that apply. Www irs gov ) Line 7—Signature of taxpayer. Www irs gov   Stan and Mary each signs and dates his or her Form 2848. Www irs gov If a taxpayer does not sign, the IRS cannot accept the form. Www irs gov Part II—Declaration of Representative. Www irs gov   Jim Smith must complete this part of Form 2848. Www irs gov If he does not sign this part, the IRS cannot accept the form. Www irs gov What Happens to the Power of Attorney When Filed? A power of attorney will be recognized after it is received, reviewed, and determined by the IRS to contain the required information. Www irs gov However, until a power of attorney is entered on the CAF system, IRS personnel may be unaware of the authority of the person you have named to represent you. Www irs gov Therefore, during this interim period, IRS personnel may request that you or your representative bring a copy to any meeting with the IRS. Www irs gov This image is too large to be displayed in the current screen. Www irs gov Please click the link to view the image. Www irs gov Filled-in Form 2848 - Page 1 This image is too large to be displayed in the current screen. Www irs gov Please click the link to view the image. Www irs gov Filled-in Form 2848 - Page 2 This image is too large to be displayed in the current screen. Www irs gov Please click the link to view the image. Www irs gov Filled-in Form 2848 - Page 1 This image is too large to be displayed in the current screen. Www irs gov Please click the link to view the image. Www irs gov Filled-in Form 2848 - Page 2 Processing and Handling How the power of attorney is processed and handled depends on whether it is a complete or incomplete document. Www irs gov Incomplete document. Www irs gov   If Form 2848 is incomplete, the IRS will attempt to secure the missing information either by writing or telephoning you or your representative. Www irs gov For example, if your signature or signature date is missing, the IRS will contact you. Www irs gov If information concerning your representative is missing and information sufficient to make a contact (such as an address and/or a telephone number) is on the document, the IRS will try to contact your representative. Www irs gov   In either case, the power of attorney is not considered valid until all required information is entered on the document. Www irs gov The individual(s) named as representative(s) will not be recognized to practice before the IRS, on your behalf, until the document is complete and accepted by the IRS. Www irs gov Complete document. Www irs gov   If the power of attorney is complete and valid, the IRS will take action to recognize the representative. Www irs gov In most instances, this includes processing the document on the CAF system. Www irs gov Recording the data on the CAF system enables the IRS to direct copies of mailings to authorized representatives and to readily recognize the scope of authority granted. Www irs gov Documents not processed on CAF. Www irs gov   Specific-use powers of attorney are not processed on the CAF system (see Preparation of Form – Helpful Hints, earlier). Www irs gov For example, a power of attorney that is a one-time or specific-issue grant of authority is not processed on the CAF system. Www irs gov These documents remain with the related case files. Www irs gov In this situation, you should check the box on line 4 of Form 2848. Www irs gov In these situations, the representative should bring a copy of the power of attorney to each meeting with the IRS. Www irs gov Dealing With the Representative After a valid power of attorney is filed, the IRS will recognize your representative. Www irs gov However, if it appears the representative is responsible for unreasonably delaying or hindering the prompt disposition of an IRS matter by failing to furnish, after repeated requests, nonprivileged information, the IRS can contact you directly. Www irs gov For example, in most instances in which a power of attorney is recognized, the IRS will contact the representative to set up appointments and to provide lists of required items. Www irs gov However, if the representative is unavailable, does not respond to repeated requests, and does not provide required items (other than items considered privileged), the IRS can bypass your representative and contact you directly. Www irs gov If a representative engages in conduct described above, the matter can be referred to the Office of Professional Responsibility for consideration of possible disciplinary action. Www irs gov Notices and other correspondence. Www irs gov   If you have a recognized representative, you and the representative will routinely receive notices and other correspondence from the IRS (either the original or a copy) if you checked the box in the left column of line 2 of Form 2848. Www irs gov If the power of attorney is processed on the CAF system, the IRS will send your representative(s) a duplicate of all computer-generated correspondence that is sent to you. Www irs gov This includes notices and letters produced either at the Martinsburg Computing Center, or other IRS centers. Www irs gov The IRS employee handling the case is responsible for ensuring that the original and any requested copies of each manually-generated correspondence are sent to you and your representative(s) in accordance with your authorization. Www irs gov How To Get Tax Help You can get help with unresolved tax issues, order free publications and forms, ask tax questions, and get information from the IRS in several ways. Www irs gov By selecting the method that is best for you, you will have quick and easy access to tax help. Www irs gov Free help with your return. Www irs gov   Free help in preparing your return is available nationwide from IRS-certified volunteers. Www irs gov The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is designed to help low and moderate income taxpayers and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program is designed to assist taxpayers age 60 and older with their tax returns. Www irs gov Most VITA and TCE sites offer free electronic filing and all volunteers will let you know about credits and deductions you may be entitled to claim. Www irs gov To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, visit IRS. Www irs gov gov or call 1-800-906-9887 or 1-800-829-1040. Www irs gov   As part of the TCE program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program. Www irs gov To find the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, call 1-888-227-7669 or visit AARP's website at www. Www irs gov aarp. Www irs gov org/money/taxaide. Www irs gov   For more information on these programs, go to IRS. Www irs gov gov and enter keyword “VITA” in the upper right-hand corner. Www irs gov Internet. Www irs gov You can access the IRS website at IRS. Www irs gov gov 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to: E-file your return. Www irs gov Find out about commercial tax preparation and e-file services available free to eligible taxpayers. Www irs gov Check the status of your refund. Www irs gov Go to IRS. Www irs gov gov and click on Where's My Refund. Www irs gov Wait at least 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return, or 3 to 4 weeks after mailing a paper return. Www irs gov If you filed Form 8379 with your return, wait 14 weeks (11 weeks if you filed electronically). Www irs gov Have your tax return available so you can provide your social security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. Www irs gov Download forms, including talking tax forms, instructions, and publications. Www irs gov Order IRS products online. Www irs gov Research your tax questions online. Www irs gov Search publications online by topic or keyword. Www irs gov Use the online Internal Revenue Code, regulations, or other official guidance. Www irs gov View Internal Revenue Bulletins (IRBs) published in the last few years. Www irs gov Figure your withholding allowances using the withholding calculator online at www. Www irs gov irs. Www irs gov gov/individuals. Www irs gov Determine if Form 6251 must be filed by using our Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Assistant available online at www. Www irs gov irs. Www irs gov gov/individuals. Www irs gov Sign up to receive local and national tax news by email. Www irs gov Get information on starting and operating a small business. Www irs gov Phone. Www irs gov Many services are available by phone. Www irs gov   Ordering forms, instructions, and publications. Www irs gov Call 1-800-TAX -FORM (1-800-829-3676) to order current-year forms, instructions, and publications, and prior-year forms and instructions. Www irs gov You should receive your order within 10 days. Www irs gov Asking tax questions. Www irs gov Call the IRS with your tax questions at 1-800-829-1040. Www irs gov Solving problems. Www irs gov You can get face-to-face help solving tax problems every business day in IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers. Www irs gov An employee can explain IRS letters, request adjustments to your account, or help you set up a payment plan. Www irs gov Call your local Taxpayer Assistance Center for an appointment. Www irs gov To find the number, go to www. Www irs gov irs. Www irs gov gov/localcontacts or look in the phone book under United States Government, Internal Revenue Service. Www irs gov TTY/TDD equipment. Www irs gov If you have access to TTY/TDD equipment, call 1-800-829-4059 to ask tax questions or to order forms and publications. Www irs gov TeleTax topics. Www irs gov Call 1-800-829-4477 to listen to pre-recorded messages covering various tax topics. Www irs gov Refund information. Www irs gov To check the status of your refund, call 1-800-829-1954 or 1-800-829-4477 (automated refund information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Www irs gov Wait at least 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return, or 3 to 4 weeks after mailing a paper return. Www irs gov If you filed Form 8379 with your return, wait 14 weeks (11 weeks if you filed electronically). Www irs gov Have your tax return available so you can provide your social security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. Www irs gov If you check the status of your refund and are not given the date it will be issued, please wait until the next week before checking back. Www irs gov Other refund information. Www irs gov To check the status of a prior-year refund or amended return refund, call 1-800-829-1040. Www irs gov Evaluating the quality of our telephone services. Www irs gov To ensure IRS representatives give accurate, courteous, and professional answers, we use several methods to evaluate the quality of our telephone services. Www irs gov One method is for a second IRS representative to listen in on or record random telephone calls. Www irs gov Another is to ask some callers to complete a short survey at the end of the call. Www irs gov Walk-in. Www irs gov Many products and services are available on a walk-in basis. Www irs gov   Products. Www irs gov You can walk in to many post offices, libraries, and IRS offices to pick up certain forms, instructions, and publications. Www irs gov Some IRS offices, libraries, grocery stores, copy centers, city and county government offices, credit unions, and office supply stores have a collection of products available to print from a CD or photocopy from reproducible proofs. Www irs gov Also, some IRS offices and libraries have the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, Internal Revenue Bulletins, and Cumulative Bulletins available for research purposes. Www irs gov Services. Www irs gov You can walk in to your local Taxpayer Assistance Center every business day for personal, face-to-face tax help. Www irs gov An employee can explain IRS letters, request adjustments to your tax account, or help you set up a payment plan. Www irs gov If you need to resolve a tax problem, have questions about how the tax law applies to your individual tax return, or you are more comfortable talking with someone in person, visit your local Taxpayer Assistance Center where you can spread out your records and talk with an IRS representative face-to-face. Www irs gov No appointment is necessary—just walk in. Www irs gov If you prefer, you can call your local Center and leave a message requesting an appointment to resolve a tax account issue. Www irs gov A representative will call you back within 2 business days to schedule an in-person appointment at your convenience. Www irs gov If you have an ongoing, complex tax account problem or a special need, such as a disability, an appointment can be requested. Www irs gov All other issues will be handled without an appointment. Www irs gov To find the number of your local office, go to  www. Www irs gov irs. Www irs gov gov/localcontacts or look in the phone book under United States Government, Internal Revenue Service. Www irs gov Mail. Www irs gov You can send your order for forms, instructions, and publications to the address below. Www irs gov You should receive a response within 10 days after your request is received. Www irs gov  Internal Revenue Service 1201 N. Www irs gov Mitsubishi Motorway Bloomington, IL 61705-6613 Taxpayer Advocate Service. Www irs gov   The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is your voice at the IRS. Www irs gov Our job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly, and that you know and understand your rights. Www irs gov We offer free help to guide you through the often-confusing process of resolving tax problems that you haven’t been able to solve on your own. Www irs gov Remember, the worst thing you can do is nothing at all. Www irs gov   TAS can help if you can’t resolve your problem with the IRS and: Your problem is causing financial difficulties for you, your family, or your business. Www irs gov You face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action. Www irs gov You have tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded, or the IRS has not responded to you by the date promised. Www irs gov   If you qualify for our help, we’ll do everything we can to get your problem resolved. Www irs gov You will be assigned to one advocate who will be with you at every turn. Www irs gov We have offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Www irs gov Although TAS is independent within the IRS, our advocates know how to work with the IRS to get your problems resolved. Www irs gov And our services are always free. Www irs gov   As a taxpayer, you have rights that the IRS must abide by in its dealings with you. Www irs gov Our tax toolkit at www. Www irs gov TaxpayerAdvocate. Www irs gov irs. Www irs gov gov can help you understand these rights. Www irs gov   If you think TAS might be able to help you, call your local advocate, whose number is in your phone book and on our website at www. Www irs gov irs. Www irs gov gov/advocate. Www irs gov You can also call our toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778 or TTY/TDD 1-800-829-4059. Www irs gov   TAS also handles large-scale or systemic problems that affect many taxpayers. Www irs gov If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to us through our Systemic Advocacy Management System at www. Www irs gov irs. Www irs gov gov/advocate. Www irs gov Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs). Www irs gov   Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS. Www irs gov Some clinics serve individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve a tax problem. Www irs gov These clinics provide professional representation before the IRS or in court on audits, appeals, tax collection disputes, and other issues for free or for a small fee. Www irs gov Some clinics can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in many different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Www irs gov For more information and to find a clinic near you, see the LITC page on www. Www irs gov irs. Www irs gov gov/advocate or IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List. Www irs gov This publication is also available by calling 1-800-829-3676 or at your local IRS office. Www irs gov Free tax services. Www irs gov   Publication 910, IRS Guide to Free Tax Services, is your guide to IRS services and resources. Www irs gov Learn about free tax information from the IRS, including publications, services, and education and assistance programs. Www irs gov The publication also has an index of over 100 TeleTax topics (recorded tax information) you can listen to on the telephone. Www irs gov The majority of the information and services listed in this publication are available to you free of charge. Www irs gov If there is a fee associated with a resource or service, it is listed in the publication. Www irs gov   Accessible versions of IRS published products are available on request in a variety of alternative formats for people with disabilities. Www irs gov DVD for tax products. Www irs gov You can order Publication 1796, IRS Tax Products DVD, and obtain: Current-year forms, instructions, and publications. Www irs gov Prior-year forms, instructions, and publications. Www irs gov Tax Map: an electronic research tool and finding aid. Www irs gov Tax law frequently asked questions. Www irs gov Tax Topics from the IRS telephone response system. Www irs gov Internal Revenue Code—Title 26 of the U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov Code. Www irs gov Links to other Internet based Tax Research Materials. Www irs gov Fill-in, print, and save features for most tax forms. Www irs gov Internal Revenue Bulletins. Www irs gov Toll-free and email technical support. Www irs gov Two releases during the year. Www irs gov  – The first release will ship the beginning of January. Www irs gov  – The final release will ship the beginning of March. Www irs gov Purchase the DVD from National Technical Information Service (NTIS) at www. Www irs gov irs. 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Www irs gov Publication 596 - Main Content Table of Contents Chapter 1—Rules for EveryoneRule 1—Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Limits Rule 2—You Must Have a Valid Social Security Number (SSN) Rule 3—Your Filing Status Cannot Be Married Filing Separately Rule 4—You Must Be a U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov Citizen or Resident Alien All Year Rule 5—You Cannot File Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ Rule 6—Your Investment Income Must Be $3,300 or Less Rule 7—You Must Have Earned Income Chapter 2—Rules If You Have a Qualifying ChildRule 8—Your Child Must Meet the Relationship, Age, Residency, and Joint Return Tests Rule 9—Your Qualifying Child Cannot Be Used by More Than One Person To Claim the EIC Rule 10—You Cannot Be a Qualifying Child of Another Taxpayer Chapter 3—Rules If You Do Not Have a Qualifying ChildRule 11—You Must Be at Least Age 25 but Under Age 65 Rule 12—You Cannot Be the Dependent of Another Person Rule 13—You Cannot Be a Qualifying Child of Another Taxpayer Rule 14—You Must Have Lived in the United States More Than Half of the Year Chapter 4—Figuring and Claiming the EICRule 15—Earned Income Limits IRS Will Figure the EIC for You How To Figure the EIC Yourself Schedule EIC Chapter 5—Disallowance of the EICForm 8862 Are You Prohibited From Claiming the EIC for a Period of Years? Chapter 6—Detailed ExamplesExample 1—Sharon Rose Example 2—Cynthia and Jerry Grey Chapter 1—Rules for Everyone This chapter discusses Rules 1 through 7. Www irs gov You must meet all seven rules to qualify for the earned income credit. Www irs gov If you do not meet all seven rules, you cannot get the credit and you do not need to read the rest of the publication. Www irs gov If you meet all seven rules in this chapter, then read either chapter 2 or chapter 3 (whichever applies) for more rules you must meet. Www irs gov Rule 1—Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Limits Your adjusted gross income (AGI) must be less than: $46,227 ($51,567 for married filing jointly) if you have three or more qualifying children, $43,038 ($48,378 for married filing jointly) if you have two qualifying children, $37,870 ($43,210 for married filing jointly) if you have one qualifying child, or $14,340 ($19,680 for married filing jointly) if you do not have a qualifying child. Www irs gov Adjusted gross income (AGI). Www irs gov   AGI is the amount on line 4 of Form 1040EZ, line 22 of Form 1040A, or line 38 of Form 1040. Www irs gov   If your AGI is equal to or more than the applicable limit listed above, you cannot claim the EIC. Www irs gov You do not need to read the rest of this publication. Www irs gov Example—AGI is more than limit. Www irs gov Your AGI is $38,550, you are single, and you have one qualifying child. Www irs gov You cannot claim the EIC because your AGI is not less than $37,870. Www irs gov However, if your filing status was married filing jointly, you might be able to claim the EIC because your AGI is less than $43,210. Www irs gov Community property. Www irs gov   If you are married, but qualify to file as head of household under special rules for married taxpayers living apart (see Rule 3), and live in a state that has community property laws, your AGI includes that portion of both your and your spouse's wages that you are required to include in gross income. Www irs gov This is different from the community property rules that apply under Rule 7. Www irs gov Rule 2—You Must Have a Valid Social Security Number (SSN) To claim the EIC, you (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) must have a valid SSN issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Www irs gov Any qualifying child listed on Schedule EIC also must have a valid SSN. Www irs gov (See Rule 8 if you have a qualifying child. Www irs gov ) If your social security card (or your spouse's, if filing a joint return) says “Not valid for employment” and your SSN was issued so that you (or your spouse) could get a federally funded benefit, you cannot get the EIC. Www irs gov An example of a federally funded benefit is Medicaid. Www irs gov If you have a card with the legend “Not valid for employment” and your immigration status has changed so that you are now a U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov citizen or permanent resident, ask the SSA for a new social security card without the legend. Www irs gov If you get the new card after you have already filed your return, you can file an amended return on Form 1040X, Amended U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov Individual Income Tax Return, to claim the EIC. Www irs gov U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov citizen. Www irs gov   If you were a U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov citizen when you received your SSN, you have a valid SSN. Www irs gov Valid for work only with INS authorization or DHS authorization. Www irs gov   If your social security card reads “Valid for work only with INS authorization” or “Valid for work only with DHS authorization,” you have a valid SSN, but only if that authorization is still valid. Www irs gov SSN missing or incorrect. Www irs gov   If an SSN for you or your spouse is missing from your tax return or is incorrect, you may not get the EIC. Www irs gov Other taxpayer identification number. Www irs gov   You cannot get the EIC if, instead of an SSN, you (or your spouse, if filing a joint return) have an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). Www irs gov ITINs are issued by the Internal Revenue Service to noncitizens who cannot get an SSN. Www irs gov No SSN. Www irs gov   If you do not have a valid SSN, put “No” next to line 64a (Form 1040), line 38a (Form 1040A), or line 8a (Form 1040EZ). Www irs gov You cannot claim the EIC. Www irs gov Getting an SSN. Www irs gov   If you (or your spouse, if filing a joint return) do not have an SSN, you can apply for one by filing Form SS-5 with the SSA. Www irs gov You can get Form SS-5 online at www. Www irs gov socialsecurity. Www irs gov gov, from your local SSA office, or by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. Www irs gov Filing deadline approaching and still no SSN. Www irs gov   If the filing deadline is approaching and you still do not have an SSN, you have two choices. Www irs gov Request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file your return. Www irs gov You can get this extension by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov Individual Income Tax Return. Www irs gov For more information, see the instructions for Form 4868. Www irs gov File the return on time without claiming the EIC. Www irs gov After receiving the SSN, file an amended return, Form 1040X, claiming the EIC. Www irs gov Attach a filled-in Schedule EIC, Earned Income Credit, if you have a qualifying child. Www irs gov Rule 3—Your Filing Status Cannot Be “Married Filing Separately” If you are married, you usually must file a joint return to claim the EIC. Www irs gov Your filing status cannot be “Married filing separately. Www irs gov ” Spouse did not live with you. Www irs gov   If you are married and your spouse did not live in your home at any time during the last 6 months of the year, you may be able to file as head of household, instead of married filing separately. Www irs gov In that case, you may be able to claim the EIC. Www irs gov For detailed information about filing as head of household, see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information. Www irs gov Rule 4—You Must Be a U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov Citizen or Resident Alien All Year If you (or your spouse, if married) were a nonresident alien for any part of the year, you cannot claim the earned income credit unless your filing status is married filing jointly. Www irs gov You can use that filing status only if one spouse is a U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov citizen or resident alien and you choose to treat the nonresident spouse as a U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov resident. Www irs gov If you make this choice, you and your spouse are taxed on your worldwide income. Www irs gov If you need more information on making this choice, get Publication 519, U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov Tax Guide for Aliens. Www irs gov If you (or your spouse, if married) were a nonresident alien for any part of the year and your filing status is not married filing jointly, enter “No” on the dotted line next to line 64a (Form 1040) or in the space to the left of line 38a (Form 1040A). Www irs gov Rule 5—You Cannot File Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ You cannot claim the earned income credit if you file Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income, or Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. Www irs gov You file these forms to exclude income earned in foreign countries from your gross income, or to deduct or exclude a foreign housing amount. Www irs gov U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov possessions are not foreign countries. Www irs gov See Publication 54, Tax Guide for U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad, for more detailed information. Www irs gov Rule 6—Your Investment Income Must Be $3,300 or Less You cannot claim the earned income credit unless your investment income is $3,300 or less. Www irs gov If your investment income is more than $3,300, you cannot claim the credit. Www irs gov Form 1040EZ. Www irs gov   If you file Form 1040EZ, your investment income is the total of the amount on line 2 and the amount of any tax-exempt interest you wrote to the right of the words “Form 1040EZ” on line 2. Www irs gov Form 1040A. Www irs gov   If you file Form 1040A, your investment income is the total of the amounts on lines 8a (taxable interest), 8b (tax-exempt interest), 9a (ordinary dividends), and 10 (capital gain distributions) on that form. Www irs gov Form 1040. Www irs gov   If you file Form 1040, use Worksheet 1 in this chapter to figure your investment income. Www irs gov    Worksheet 1. Www irs gov Investment Income If You Are Filing Form 1040 Use this worksheet to figure investment income for the earned income credit when you file Form 1040. Www irs gov Interest and Dividends         1. Www irs gov Enter any amount from Form 1040, line 8a 1. Www irs gov   2. Www irs gov Enter any amount from Form 1040, line 8b, plus any amount on Form 8814, line 1b 2. Www irs gov   3. Www irs gov Enter any amount from Form 1040, line 9a 3. Www irs gov   4. Www irs gov Enter the amount from Form 1040, line 21, that is from Form 8814 if you are filing that form to report your child's interest and dividend income on your return. Www irs gov (If your child received an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, use Worksheet 2 in this chapter to figure the amount to enter on this line. Www irs gov ) 4. Www irs gov   Capital Gain Net Income         5. Www irs gov Enter the amount from Form 1040, line 13. Www irs gov If the amount on that line is a loss, enter -0- 5. Www irs gov       6. Www irs gov Enter any gain from Form 4797, Sales of Business Property, line 7. Www irs gov If the amount on that line is a loss, enter -0-. Www irs gov (But, if you completed lines 8 and 9 of Form 4797, enter the amount from line 9 instead. Www irs gov ) 6. Www irs gov       7. Www irs gov Substract line 6 of this worksheet from line 5 of this worksheet. Www irs gov (If the result is less than zero, enter -0-. Www irs gov ) 7. Www irs gov   Royalties and Rental Income From Personal Property         8. Www irs gov Enter any royalty income from Schedule E, line 23b, plus any income from the rental of personal property shown on Form 1040, line 21 8. Www irs gov       9. Www irs gov Enter any expenses from Schedule E, line 20, related to royalty income, plus any expenses from the rental of personal property deducted on Form 1040, line 36 9. Www irs gov       10. Www irs gov Subtract the amount on line 9 of this worksheet from the amount on line 8. Www irs gov (If the result is less than zero, enter -0-. Www irs gov ) 10. Www irs gov   Passive Activities         11. Www irs gov Enter the total of any net income from passive activities (such as income included on Schedule E, line 26, 29a (col. Www irs gov (g)), 34a (col. Www irs gov (d)), or 40). Www irs gov (See instructions below for lines 11 and 12. Www irs gov ) 11. Www irs gov       12. Www irs gov Enter the total of any losses from passive activities (such as losses included on Schedule E, line 26, 29b (col. Www irs gov (f)), 34b (col. Www irs gov (c)), or 40). Www irs gov (See instructions below for lines 11 and 12. Www irs gov ) 12. Www irs gov       13. Www irs gov Combine the amounts on lines 11 and 12 of this worksheet. Www irs gov (If the result is less than zero, enter -0-. Www irs gov ) 13. Www irs gov   14. Www irs gov Add the amounts on lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, and 13. Www irs gov Enter the total. Www irs gov This is your investment income 14. Www irs gov   15. Www irs gov Is the amount on line 14 more than $3,300? ❑ Yes. Www irs gov You cannot take the credit. Www irs gov  ❑ No. Www irs gov Go to Step 3 of the Form 1040 instructions for lines 64a and 64b to find out if you can take the credit (unless you are using this publication to find out if you can take the credit; in that case, go to Rule 7, next). Www irs gov       Instructions for lines 11 and 12. Www irs gov In figuring the amount to enter on lines 11 and 12, do not take into account any royalty income (or loss) included on line 26 of Schedule E or any amount included in your earned income. Www irs gov To find out if the income on line 26 or line 40 of Schedule E is from a passive activity, see the Schedule E instructions. Www irs gov If any of the rental real estate income (or loss) included on Schedule E, line 26, is not from a passive activity, print “NPA” and the amount of that income (or loss) on the dotted line next to line 26. Www irs gov Worksheet 2. Www irs gov Worksheet for Line 4 of Worksheet 1 Complete this worksheet only if Form 8814 includes an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend. Www irs gov Note. Www irs gov Fill out a separate Worksheet 2 for each Form 8814. Www irs gov     1. Www irs gov Enter the amount from Form 8814, line 2a 1. Www irs gov   2. Www irs gov Enter the amount from Form 8814, line 2b 2. Www irs gov   3. Www irs gov Subtract line 2 from line 1 3. Www irs gov   4. Www irs gov Enter the amount from Form 8814, line 1a 4. Www irs gov   5. Www irs gov Add lines 3 and 4 5. Www irs gov   6. Www irs gov Enter the amount of the child's Alaska Permanent Fund dividend 6. Www irs gov   7. Www irs gov Divide line 6 by line 5. Www irs gov Enter the result as a decimal (rounded to at least three places) 7. Www irs gov   8. Www irs gov Enter the amount from Form 8814, line 12 8. Www irs gov   9. Www irs gov Multiply line 7 by line 8 9. Www irs gov   10. Www irs gov Subtract line 9 from line 8. Www irs gov Enter the result on line 4 of Worksheet 1 10. Www irs gov     (If filing more than one Form 8814, enter on line 4 of Worksheet 1 the total of the amounts on line 10 of all Worksheets 2. Www irs gov )     Example—completing Worksheet 2. Www irs gov Your 10-year-old child has taxable interest income of $400, an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend of $1,000, and ordinary dividends of $1,100, of which $500 are qualified dividends. Www irs gov You choose to report this income on your return. Www irs gov You enter $400 on line 1a of Form 8814, $2,100 ($1,000 + $1,100) on line 2a, and $500 on line 2b. Www irs gov After completing lines 4 through 11, you enter $400 on line 12 of Form 8814 and line 21 of Form 1040. Www irs gov On Worksheet 2, you enter $2,100 on line 1, $500 on line 2, $1,600 on line 3, $400 on line 4, $2,000 on line 5, $1,000 on line 6, 0. Www irs gov 500 on line 7, $400 on line 8, $200 on line 9, and $200 on line 10. Www irs gov You then enter $200 on line 4 of Worksheet 1. Www irs gov Rule 7—You Must Have Earned Income This credit is called the “earned income” credit because, to qualify, you must work and have earned income. Www irs gov If you are married and file a joint return, you meet this rule if at least one spouse works and has earned income. Www irs gov If you are an employee, earned income includes all the taxable income you get from your employer. Www irs gov Rule 15 has information that will help you figure the amount of your earned income. Www irs gov If you are self-employed or a statutory employee, you will figure your earned income on EIC Worksheet B in the Form 1040 instructions. Www irs gov Earned Income Earned income includes all of the following types of income. Www irs gov Wages, salaries, tips, and other taxable employee pay. Www irs gov Employee pay is earned income only if it is taxable. Www irs gov Nontaxable employee pay, such as certain dependent care benefits and adoption benefits, is not earned income. Www irs gov But there is an exception for nontaxable combat pay, which you can choose to include in earned income, as explained later in this chapter. Www irs gov Net earnings from self-employment. Www irs gov Gross income received as a statutory employee. Www irs gov Wages, salaries, and tips. Www irs gov    Wages, salaries, and tips you receive for working are reported to you on Form W-2, in box 1. Www irs gov You should report these on line 1 (Form 1040EZ) or line 7 (Forms 1040A and 1040). Www irs gov Nontaxable combat pay election. Www irs gov   You can elect to include your nontaxable combat pay in earned income for the earned income credit. Www irs gov The amount of your nontaxable combat pay should be shown on your Form W-2, in box 12, with code Q. Www irs gov Electing to include nontaxable combat pay in earned income may increase or decrease your EIC. Www irs gov For details, see Nontaxable combat pay in chapter 4. Www irs gov Net earnings from self-employment. Www irs gov   You may have net earnings from self-employment if: You own your own business, or You are a minister or member of a religious order. Www irs gov Minister's housing. Www irs gov   The rental value of a home or a housing allowance provided to a minister as part of the minister's pay generally is not subject to income tax but is included in net earnings from self-employment. Www irs gov For that reason, it is included in earned income for the EIC (except in the cases described in Approved Form 4361 or Form 4029 , below). Www irs gov Statutory employee. Www irs gov   You are a statutory employee if you receive a Form W-2 on which the “Statutory employee” box (box 13) is checked. Www irs gov You report your income and expenses as a statutory employee on Schedule C or C-EZ (Form 1040). Www irs gov Strike benefits. Www irs gov   Strike benefits paid by a union to its members are earned income. Www irs gov Approved Form 4361 or Form 4029 This section is for persons who have an approved: Form 4361, Application for Exemption From Self-Employment Tax for Use by Ministers, Members of Religious Orders and Christian Science Practitioners, or Form 4029, Application for Exemption From Social Security and Medicare Taxes and Waiver of Benefits. Www irs gov Each approved form exempts certain income from social security taxes. Www irs gov Each form is discussed here in terms of what is or is not earned income for the EIC. Www irs gov Form 4361. Www irs gov   Whether or not you have an approved Form 4361, amounts you received for performing ministerial duties as an employee count as earned income. Www irs gov This includes wages, salaries, tips, and other taxable employee compensation. Www irs gov A nontaxable housing allowance or the nontaxable rental value of a home is not earned income. Www irs gov Also, amounts you received for performing ministerial duties, but not as an employee, do not count as earned income. Www irs gov Examples include fees for performing marriages and honoraria for delivering speeches. Www irs gov Form 4029. Www irs gov   Whether or not you have an approved Form 4029, all wages, salaries, tips, and other taxable employee compensation count as earned income. Www irs gov However, amounts you received as a self-employed individual do not count as earned income. Www irs gov Also, in figuring earned income, do not subtract losses on Schedule C, C-EZ, or F from wages on line 7 of Form 1040. Www irs gov Disability Benefits If you retired on disability, taxable benefits you receive under your employer's disability retirement plan are considered earned income until you reach minimum retirement age. Www irs gov Minimum retirement age generally is the earliest age at which you could have received a pension or annuity if you were not disabled. Www irs gov You must report your taxable disability payments on line 7 of either Form 1040 or Form 1040A until you reach minimum retirement age. Www irs gov Beginning on the day after you reach minimum retirement age, payments you receive are taxable as a pension and are not considered earned income. Www irs gov Report taxable pension payments on Form 1040, lines 16a and 16b, or Form 1040A, lines 12a and 12b. Www irs gov Disability insurance payments. Www irs gov   Payments you received from a disability insurance policy that you paid the premiums for are not earned income. Www irs gov It does not matter whether you have reached minimum retirement age. Www irs gov If this policy is through your employer, the amount may be shown in box 12 of your Form W-2 with code “J. Www irs gov ” Income That Is Not Earned Income Examples of items that are not earned income include interest and dividends, pensions and annuities, social security and railroad retirement benefits (including disability benefits), alimony and child support, welfare benefits, workers' compensation benefits, unemployment compensation (insurance), nontaxable foster care payments, and veterans' benefits, including VA rehabilitation payments. Www irs gov Do not include any of these items in your earned income. Www irs gov Earnings while an inmate. Www irs gov   Amounts received for work performed while an inmate in a penal institution are not earned income when figuring the earned income credit. Www irs gov This includes amounts for work performed while in a work release program or while in a halfway house. Www irs gov Workfare payments. Www irs gov   Nontaxable workfare payments are not earned income for the EIC. Www irs gov These are cash payments certain people receive from a state or local agency that administers public assistance programs funded under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in return for certain work activities such as (1) work experience activities (including remodeling or repairing public housing) if sufficient private sector employment is not available, or (2) community service program activities. Www irs gov Community property. Www irs gov   If you are married, but qualify to file as head of household under special rules for married taxpayers living apart (see Rule 3), and live in a state that has community property laws, your earned income for the EIC does not include any amount earned by your spouse that is treated as belonging to you under those laws. Www irs gov That amount is not earned income for the EIC, even though you must include it in your gross income on your income tax return. Www irs gov Your earned income includes the entire amount you earned, even if part of it is treated as belonging to your spouse under your state's community property laws. Www irs gov Nevada, Washington, and California domestic partners. Www irs gov   If you are a registered domestic partner in Nevada, Washington, or California, the same rules apply. Www irs gov Your earned income for the EIC does not include any amount earned by your partner. Www irs gov Your earned income includes the entire amount you earned. Www irs gov For details, see Publication 555. Www irs gov Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) payments. Www irs gov   If you were receiving social security retirement benefits or social security disability benefits at the time you received any CRP payments, your CRP payments are not earned income for the EIC. Www irs gov Nontaxable military pay. Www irs gov   Nontaxable pay for members of the Armed Forces is not considered earned income for the EIC. Www irs gov Examples of nontaxable military pay are combat pay, the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), and the Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS). Www irs gov See Publication 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide, for more information. Www irs gov    Combat pay. Www irs gov You can elect to include your nontaxable combat pay in earned income for the EIC. Www irs gov See Nontaxable combat pay in chapter 4. Www irs gov Chapter 2—Rules If You Have a Qualifying Child If you have met all the rules in chapter 1, use this chapter to see if you have a qualifying child. Www irs gov This chapter discusses Rules 8 through 10. Www irs gov You must meet all three of those rules, in addition to the rules in chapters 1 and 4, to qualify for the earned income credit with a qualifying child. Www irs gov You must file Form 1040 or Form 1040A to claim the EIC with a qualifying child. Www irs gov (You cannot file Form 1040EZ. Www irs gov ) You also must complete Schedule EIC and attach it to your return. Www irs gov If you meet all the rules in chapter 1 and this chapter, read chapter 4 to find out what to do next. Www irs gov No qualifying child. Www irs gov   If you do not meet Rule 8, you do not have a qualifying child. Www irs gov Read chapter 3 to find out if you can get the earned income credit without a qualifying child. Www irs gov Rule 8—Your Child Must Meet the Relationship, Age, Residency, and Joint Return Tests Your child is a qualifying child if your child meets four tests. Www irs gov The fours tests are: Relationship, Age, Residency, and Joint return. Www irs gov The four tests are illustrated in Figure 1. Www irs gov The paragraphs that follow contain more information about each test. Www irs gov Relationship Test To be your qualifying child, a child must be your: Son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild), or Brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your niece or nephew). Www irs gov The following definitions clarify the relationship test. Www irs gov Adopted child. Www irs gov   An adopted child is always treated as your own child. Www irs gov The term “adopted child” includes a child who was lawfully placed with you for legal adoption. Www irs gov Foster child. Www irs gov   For the EIC, a person is your foster child if the child is placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction. Www irs gov (An authorized placement agency includes a state or local government agency. Www irs gov It also includes a tax-exempt organization licensed by a state. Www irs gov In addition, it includes an Indian tribal government or an organization authorized by an Indian tribal government to place Indian children. Www irs gov ) Example. Www irs gov Debbie, who is 12 years old, was placed in your care 2 years ago by an authorized agency responsible for placing children in foster homes. Www irs gov Debbie is your foster child. Www irs gov Figure 1. Www irs gov Tests for Qualifying Child Please click here for the text description of the image. Www irs gov Conditions for Qualifying Child Age Test Your child must be: Under age 19 at the end of 2013 and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly), Under age 24 at the end of 2013, a student, and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly, or Permanently and totally disabled at any time during 2013, regardless of age. Www irs gov The following examples and definitions clarify the age test. Www irs gov Example 1—child not under age 19. Www irs gov Your son turned 19 on December 10. Www irs gov Unless he was permanently and totally disabled or a student, he is not a qualifying child because, at the end of the year, he was not under age 19. Www irs gov Example 2—child not younger than you or your spouse. Www irs gov Your 23-year-old brother, who is a full-time student and unmarried, lives with you and your spouse. Www irs gov He is not disabled. Www irs gov Both you and your spouse are 21 years old, and you file a joint return. Www irs gov Your brother is not your qualifying child because he is not younger than you or your spouse. Www irs gov Example 3—child younger than your spouse but not younger than you. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 2 except that your spouse is 25 years old. Www irs gov Because your brother is younger than your spouse, he is your qualifying child, even though he is not younger than you. Www irs gov Student defined. Www irs gov   To qualify as a student, your child must be, during some part of each of any 5 calendar months during the calendar year: A full-time student at a school that has a regular teaching staff, course of study, and regular student body at the school, or A student taking a full-time, on-farm training course given by a school described in (1), or a state, county, or local government. Www irs gov   The 5 calendar months need not be consecutive. Www irs gov   A full-time student is a student who is enrolled for the number of hours or courses the school considers to be full-time attendance. Www irs gov School defined. Www irs gov   A school can be an elementary school, junior or senior high school, college, university, or technical, trade, or mechanical school. Www irs gov However, on-the-job training courses, correspondence schools, and schools offering courses only through the Internet do not count as schools for the EIC. Www irs gov Vocational high school students. Www irs gov   Students who work in co-op jobs in private industry as a part of a school's regular course of classroom and practical training are considered full-time students. Www irs gov Permanently and totally disabled. Www irs gov   Your child is permanently and totally disabled if both of the following apply. Www irs gov He or she cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition. Www irs gov A doctor determines the condition has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year or can lead to death. Www irs gov Residency Test Your child must have lived with you in the United States for more than half of 2013. Www irs gov The following definitions clarify the residency test. Www irs gov United States. Www irs gov   This means the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Www irs gov It does not include Puerto Rico or U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov possessions such as Guam. Www irs gov Homeless shelter. Www irs gov   Your home can be any location where you regularly live. Www irs gov You do not need a traditional home. Www irs gov For example, if your child lived with you for more than half the year in one or more homeless shelters, your child meets the residency test. Www irs gov Military personnel stationed outside the United States. Www irs gov   U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov military personnel stationed outside the United States on extended active duty are considered to live in the United States during that duty period for purposes of the EIC. Www irs gov Extended active duty. Www irs gov   Extended active duty means you are called or ordered to duty for an indefinite period or for a period of more than 90 days. Www irs gov Once you begin serving your extended active duty, you are still considered to have been on extended active duty even if you do not serve more than 90 days. Www irs gov Birth or death of child. Www irs gov    child who was born or died in 2013 is treated as having lived with you for more than half of 2013 if your home was the child's home for more than half the time he or she was alive in 2013. Www irs gov Temporary absences. Www irs gov   Count time that you or your child is away from home on a temporary absence due to a special circumstance as time the child lived with you. Www irs gov Examples of a special circumstance include illness, school attendance, business, vacation, military service, and detention in a juvenile facility. Www irs gov Kidnapped child. Www irs gov   A kidnapped child is treated as living with you for more than half of the year if the child lived with you for more than half the part of the year before the date of the kidnapping. Www irs gov The child must be presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by someone who is not a member of your family or the child's family. Www irs gov This treatment applies for all years until the child is returned. Www irs gov However, the last year this treatment can apply is the earlier of: The year there is a determination that the child is dead, or The year the child would have reached age 18. Www irs gov   If your qualifying child has been kidnapped and meets these requirements, enter “KC,” instead of a number, on line 6 of Schedule EIC. Www irs gov Joint Return Test To meet this test, the child cannot file a joint return for the year. Www irs gov Exception. Www irs gov   An exception to the joint return test applies if your child and his or her spouse file a joint return only to claim a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid. Www irs gov Example 1—child files joint return. Www irs gov You supported your 18-year-old daughter, and she lived with you all year while her husband was in the Armed Forces. Www irs gov He earned $25,000 for the year. Www irs gov The couple files a joint return. Www irs gov Because your daughter and her husband file a joint return, she is not your qualifying child. Www irs gov Example 2—child files joint return to get refund of tax withheld. Www irs gov Your 18-year-old son and his 17-year-old wife had $800 of wages from part-time jobs and no other income. Www irs gov They do not have a child. Www irs gov Neither is required to file a tax return. Www irs gov Taxes were taken out of their pay, so they file a joint return only to get a refund of the withheld taxes. Www irs gov The exception to the joint return test applies, so your son may be your qualifying child if all the other tests are met. Www irs gov Example 3—child files joint return to claim American opportunity credit. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 2 except no taxes were taken out of your son's pay. Www irs gov He and his wife are not required to file a tax return, but they file a joint return to claim an American opportunity credit of $124 and get a refund of that amount. Www irs gov Because claiming the American opportunity credit is their reason for filing the return, they are not filing it only to claim a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid. Www irs gov The exception to the joint return test does not apply, so your son is not your qualifying child. Www irs gov Married child. Www irs gov   Even if your child does not file a joint return, if your child was married at the end of the year, he or she cannot be your qualifying child unless: You can claim an exemption for the child, or The reason you cannot claim an exemption for the child is that you let the child's other parent claim the exemption under the Special rule for divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) described later. Www irs gov    Social security number. Www irs gov Your qualifying child must have a valid social security number (SSN), unless the child was born and died in 2013 and you attach to your return a copy of the child's birth certificate, death certificate, or hospital records showing a live birth. Www irs gov You cannot claim the EIC on the basis of a qualifying child if: The qualifying child's SSN is missing from your tax return or is incorrect, The qualifying child's social security card says “Not valid for employment” and was issued for use in getting a federally funded benefit, or Instead of an SSN, the qualifying child has: An individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), which is issued to a noncitizen who cannot get an SSN, or An adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN), issued to adopting parents who cannot get an SSN for the child being adopted until the adoption is final. Www irs gov   If you have more than one qualifying child and only one has a valid SSN, you can use only that child to claim the EIC. Www irs gov For more information about SSNs, see Rule 2. Www irs gov Rule 9—Your Qualifying Child Cannot Be Used by More Than One Person To Claim the EIC Sometimes a child meets the tests to be a qualifying child of more than one person. Www irs gov However, only one of these persons can actually treat the child as a qualifying child. Www irs gov Only that person can use the child as a qualifying child to take all of the following tax benefits (provided the person is eligible for each benefit). Www irs gov The exemption for the child. Www irs gov The child tax credit. Www irs gov Head of household filing status. Www irs gov The credit for child and dependent care expenses. Www irs gov The exclusion for dependent care benefits. Www irs gov The EIC. Www irs gov The other person cannot take any of these benefits based on this qualifying child. Www irs gov In other words, you and the other person cannot agree to divide these tax benefits between you. Www irs gov The other person cannot take any of these tax benefits unless he or she has a different qualifying child. Www irs gov The tiebreaker rules, which follow, explain who, if anyone, can claim the EIC when more than one person has the same qualifying child. Www irs gov However, the tiebreaker rules do not apply if the other person is your spouse and you file a joint return. Www irs gov Tiebreaker rules. Www irs gov   To determine which person can treat the child as a qualifying child to claim the six tax benefits just listed, the following tiebreaker rules apply. Www irs gov If only one of the persons is the child's parent, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the parent. Www irs gov If the parents file a joint return together and can claim the child as a qualifying child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the parents. Www irs gov If the parents do not file a joint return together but both parents claim the child as a qualifying child, the IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent with whom the child lived for the longer period of time during the year. Www irs gov If the child lived with each parent for the same amount of time, the IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent who had the higher adjusted gross income (AGI) for the year. Www irs gov If no parent can claim the child as a qualifying child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who had the highest AGI for the year. Www irs gov If a parent can claim the child as a qualifying child but no parent does so claim the child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who had the highest AGI for the year, but only if that person's AGI is higher than the highest AGI of any of the child's parents who can claim the child. Www irs gov If the child's parents file a joint return with each other, this rule can be applied by treating the parents' total AGI as divided evenly between them. Www irs gov See Example 8. Www irs gov   Subject to these tiebreaker rules, you and the other person may be able to choose which of you claims the child as a qualifying child. Www irs gov See Examples 1 through 13. Www irs gov   If you cannot claim the EIC because your qualifying child is treated under the tiebreaker rules as the qualifying child of another person for 2013, you may be able to take the EIC using a different qualifying child, but you cannot take the EIC using the rules in chapter 3 for people who do not have a qualifying child. Www irs gov If the other person cannot claim the EIC. Www irs gov   If you and someone else have the same qualifying child but the other person cannot claim the EIC because he or she is not eligible or his or her earned income or AGI is too high, you may be able to treat the child as a qualifying child. Www irs gov See Examples 6 and 7. Www irs gov But you cannot treat the child as a qualifying child to claim the EIC if the other person uses the child to claim any of the other six tax benefits listed earlier in this chapter. Www irs gov Examples. Www irs gov    The following examples may help you in determining whether you can claim the EIC when you and someone else have the same qualifying child. Www irs gov Example 1—child lived with parent and grandparent. Www irs gov You and your 2-year-old son Jimmy lived with your mother all year. Www irs gov You are 25 years old, unmarried, and your AGI is $9,000. Www irs gov Your only income was $9,000 from a part-time job. Www irs gov Your mother's only income was $20,000 from her job, and her AGI is $20,000. Www irs gov Jimmy's father did not live with you or Jimmy. Www irs gov The special rule explained later for divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) does not apply. Www irs gov Jimmy is a qualifying child of both you and your mother because he meets the relationship, age, residency, and joint return tests for both you and your mother. Www irs gov However, only one of you can treat him as a qualifying child to claim the EIC (and the other tax benefits listed earlier in this chapter for which that person qualifies). Www irs gov He is not a qualifying child of anyone else, including his father. Www irs gov If you do not claim Jimmy as a qualifying child for the EIC or any of the other tax benefits listed earlier, your mother can treat him as a qualifying child to claim the EIC (and any of the other tax benefits listed earlier for which she qualifies). Www irs gov Example 2—parent has higher AGI than grandparent. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1 except your AGI is $25,000. Www irs gov Because your mother's AGI is not higher than yours, she cannot claim Jimmy as a qualifying child. Www irs gov Only you can claim him. Www irs gov Example 3—two persons claim same child. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that you and your mother both claim Jimmy as a qualifying child. Www irs gov In this case, you as the child's parent will be the only one allowed to claim Jimmy as a qualifying child for the EIC and the other tax benefits listed earlier for which you qualify. Www irs gov The IRS will disallow your mother's claim to the EIC and any of the other tax benefits listed earlier unless she has another qualifying child. Www irs gov Example 4—qualifying children split between two persons. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that you also have two other young children who are qualifying children of both you and your mother. Www irs gov Only one of you can claim each child. Www irs gov However, if your mother's AGI is higher than yours, you can allow your mother to claim one or more of the children. Www irs gov For example, if you claim one child, your mother can claim the other two. Www irs gov Example 5—taxpayer who is a qualifying child. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that you are only 18 years old. Www irs gov This means you are a qualifying child of your mother. Www irs gov Because of Rule 10, discussed next, you cannot claim the EIC and cannot claim your son as a qualifying child. Www irs gov Only your mother may be able to treat Jimmy as a qualifying child to claim the EIC. Www irs gov If your mother meets all the other requirements for claiming the EIC and you do not claim Jimmy as a qualifying child for any of the other tax benefits listed earlier, your mother can claim both you and Jimmy as qualifying children for the EIC. Www irs gov Example 6—grandparent with too much earned income to claim EIC. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that your mother earned $50,000 from her job. Www irs gov Because your mother's earned income is too high for her to claim the EIC, only you can claim the EIC using your son. Www irs gov Example 7—parent with too much earned income to claim EIC. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that you earned $50,000 from your job and your AGI is $50,500. Www irs gov Your earned income is too high for you to claim the EIC. Www irs gov But your mother cannot claim the EIC either, because her AGI is not higher than yours. Www irs gov Example 8—child lived with both parents and grandparent. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that you and Jimmy's father are married to each other, live with Jimmy and your mother, and have AGI of $30,000 on a joint return. Www irs gov If you and your husband do not claim Jimmy as a qualifying child for the EIC or any of the other tax benefits listed earlier, your mother can claim him instead. Www irs gov Even though the AGI on your joint return, $30,000, is more than your mother's AGI of $20,000, for this purpose half of the joint AGI can be treated as yours and half as your husband's. Www irs gov In other words, each parent's AGI can be treated as $15,000. Www irs gov Example 9—separated parents. Www irs gov You, your husband, and your 10-year-old son Joey lived together until August 1, 2013, when your husband moved out of the household. Www irs gov In August and September, Joey lived with you. Www irs gov For the rest of the year, Joey lived with your husband, who is Joey's father. Www irs gov Joey is a qualifying child of both you and your husband because he lived with each of you for more than half the year and because he met the relationship, age, and joint return tests for both of you. Www irs gov At the end of the year, you and your husband still were not divorced, legally separated, or separated under a written separation agreement, so the Special rule for divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) does not apply. Www irs gov You and your husband will file separate returns. Www irs gov Your husband agrees to let you treat Joey as a qualifying child. Www irs gov This means, if your husband does not claim Joey as a qualifying child for any of the tax benefits listed earlier, you can claim him as a qualifying child for any tax benefit listed earlier for which you qualify. Www irs gov However, your filing status is married filing separately, so you cannot claim the EIC or the credit for child and dependent care expenses. Www irs gov See Rule 3. Www irs gov Example 10—separated parents claim same child. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 9 except that you and your husband both claim Joey as a qualifying child. Www irs gov In this case, only your husband will be allowed to treat Joey as a qualifying child. Www irs gov This is because, during 2013, the boy lived with him longer than with you. Www irs gov You cannot claim the EIC (either with or without a qualifying child). Www irs gov However, your husband's filing status is married filing separately, so he cannot claim the EIC or the credit for child and dependent care expenses. Www irs gov See Rule 3. Www irs gov Example 11—unmarried parents. Www irs gov You, your 5-year-old son, and your son's father lived together all year. Www irs gov You and your son's father are not married. Www irs gov Your son is a qualifying child of both you and his father because he meets the relationship, age, residency, and joint return tests for both you and his father. Www irs gov Your earned income and AGI are $12,000, and your son's father's earned income and AGI are $14,000. Www irs gov Neither of you had any other income. Www irs gov Your son's father agrees to let you treat the child as a qualifying child. Www irs gov This means, if your son's father does not claim your son as a qualifying child for the EIC or any of the other tax benefits listed earlier, you can claim him as a qualifying child for the EIC and any of the other tax benefits listed earlier for which you qualify. Www irs gov Example 12—unmarried parents claim same child. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 11 except that you and your son's father both claim your son as a qualifying child. Www irs gov In this case, only your son's father will be allowed to treat your son as a qualifying child. Www irs gov This is because his AGI, $14,000, is more than your AGI, $12,000. Www irs gov You cannot claim the EIC (either with or without a qualifying child). Www irs gov Example 13—child did not live with a parent. Www irs gov You and your 7-year-old niece, your sister's child, lived with your mother all year. Www irs gov You are 25 years old, and your AGI is $9,300. Www irs gov Your only income was from a part-time job. Www irs gov Your mother's AGI is $15,000. Www irs gov Her only income was from her job. Www irs gov Your niece's parents file jointly, have an AGI of less than $9,000, and do not live with you or their child. Www irs gov Your niece is a qualifying child of both you and your mother because she meets the relationship, age, residency, and joint return tests for both you and your mother. Www irs gov However, only your mother can treat her as a qualifying child. Www irs gov This is because your mother's AGI, $15,000, is more than your AGI, $9,300. Www irs gov Special rule for divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart). Www irs gov   A child will be treated as the qualifying child of his or her noncustodial parent (for purposes of claiming an exemption and the child tax credit, but not for the EIC) if all of the following statements are true. Www irs gov The parents: Are divorced or legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance, Are separated under a written separation agreement, or Lived apart at all time during the last 6 months of 2013, whether or not they are or were married. Www irs gov The child received over half of his or her support for the year from the parents. Www irs gov The child is in the custody of one or both parents for more than half of 2013. Www irs gov Either of the following statements is true. Www irs gov The custodial parent signs Form 8332 or a substantially similar statement that he or she will not claim the child as a dependent for the year, and the noncustodial parent attaches the form or statement to his or her return. Www irs gov If the divorce decree or separation agreement went into effect after 1984 and before 2009, the noncustodial parent may be able to attach certain pages from the decree or agreement instead of Form 8332. Www irs gov A pre-1985 decree of divorce or separate maintenance or written separation agreement that applies to 2013 provides that the noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent, and the noncustodial parent provides at least $600 for support of the child during 2013. Www irs gov For details, see Publication 501. Www irs gov Also see Applying Rule 9 to divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), next. Www irs gov Applying Rule 9 to divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart). Www irs gov   If a child is treated as the qualifying child of the noncustodial parent under the special rule just described for children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), only the noncustodial parent can claim an exemption and the child tax credit for the child. Www irs gov However, the custodial parent, if eligible, or another eligible taxpayer can claim the child as a qualifying child for the EIC and other tax benefits listed earlier in this chapter. Www irs gov If the child is the qualifying child of more than one person for these benefits, then the tiebreaker rules determine which person can treat the child as a qualifying child. Www irs gov Example 1. Www irs gov You and your 5-year-old son lived all year with your mother, who paid the entire cost of keeping up the home. Www irs gov Your AGI is $10,000. Www irs gov Your mother’s AGI is $25,000. Www irs gov Your son's father did not live with you or your son. Www irs gov Under the Special rule for divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), your son is treated as the qualifying child of his father, who can claim an exemption and the child tax credit for the child. Www irs gov However, your son's father cannot claim your son as a qualifying child for head of household filing status, the credit for child and dependent care expenses, the exclusion for dependent care benefits, or the EIC. Www irs gov You and your mother did not have any child care expenses or dependent care benefits. Www irs gov If you do not claim your son as a qualifying child, your mother can claim him as a qualifying child for the EIC and head of household filing status, if she qualifies for these tax benefits. Www irs gov Example 2. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that your AGI is $25,000 and your mother's AGI is $21,000. Www irs gov Your mother cannot claim your son as a qualifying child for any purpose because her AGI is not higher than yours. Www irs gov Example 3. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that you and your mother both claim your son as a qualifying child for the EIC. Www irs gov Your mother also claims him as a qualifying child for head of household filing status. Www irs gov You as the child's parent will be the only one allowed to claim your son as a qualifying child for the EIC. Www irs gov The IRS will disallow your mother's claim to the EIC and head of household filing status unless she has another qualifying child. Www irs gov Rule 10—You Cannot Be a Qualifying Child of Another Taxpayer You are a qualifying child of another taxpayer (your parent, guardian, foster parent, etc. Www irs gov ) if all of the following statements are true. Www irs gov You are that person's son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of them. Www irs gov Or, you are that person's brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them. Www irs gov You were: Under age 19 at the end of the year and younger than that person (or that person's spouse, if the person files jointly), Under age 24 at the end of the year, a student, and younger than that person (or that person's spouse, if the person files jointly), or Permanently and totally disabled, regardless of age. Www irs gov You lived with that person in the United States for more than half of the year. Www irs gov You are not filing a joint return for the year (or are filing a joint return only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid). Www irs gov For more details about the tests to be a qualifying child, see Rule 8. Www irs gov If you are a qualifying child of another taxpayer, you cannot claim the EIC. Www irs gov This is true even if the person for whom you are a qualifying child does not claim the EIC or meet all of the rules to claim the EIC. Www irs gov Put “No” beside line 64a (Form 1040) or line 38a (Form 1040A). Www irs gov Example. Www irs gov You and your daughter lived with your mother all year. Www irs gov You are 22 years old, unmarried, and attended a trade school full time. Www irs gov You had a part-time job and earned $5,700. Www irs gov You had no other income. Www irs gov Because you meet the relationship, age, residency, and joint return tests, you are a qualifying child of your mother. Www irs gov She can claim the EIC if she meets all the other requirements. Www irs gov Because you are your mother's qualifying child, you cannot claim the EIC. Www irs gov This is so even if your mother cannot or does not claim the EIC. Www irs gov Child of person not required to file a return. Www irs gov   You are not the qualifying child of another taxpayer (and so may qualify to claim the EIC) if the person for whom you met the relationship, age, residency, and joint return tests is not required to file an income tax return and either: Does not file an income tax return, or Files a return only to get a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid. Www irs gov Example 1—return not required. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in the last example except your mother had no gross income, is not required to file a 2013 tax return, and does not file a 2013 tax return. Www irs gov As a result, you are not your mother's qualifying child. Www irs gov You can claim the EIC if you meet all the other requirements to do so. Www irs gov Example 2—return filed to get refund of tax withheld. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1 except your mother had wages of $1,500 and had income tax withheld from her wages. Www irs gov She files a return only to get a refund of the income tax withheld and does not claim the EIC or any other tax credits or deductions. Www irs gov As a result, you are not your mother's qualifying child. Www irs gov You can claim the EIC if you meet all the other requirements to do so. Www irs gov Example 3—return filed to get EIC. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 2 except your mother claimed the EIC on her return. Www irs gov Since she filed the return to get the EIC, she is not filing it only to get a refund of income tax withheld. Www irs gov As a result, you are your mother's qualifying child. Www irs gov You cannot claim the EIC. Www irs gov Chapter 3—Rules If You Do Not Have a Qualifying Child Use this chapter if you do not have a qualifying child and have met all the rules in chapter 1. Www irs gov This chapter discusses Rules 11 through 14. Www irs gov 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. Www irs gov You can file Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040EZ to claim the EIC without a qualifying child. Www irs gov If you meet all the rules in chapter 1 and this chapter, read chapter 4 to find out what to do next. Www irs gov If you have a qualifying child. Www irs gov   If you meet Rule 8, you have a qualifying child. Www irs gov If you meet Rule 8 and do not claim the EIC with a qualifying child, you cannot claim the EIC without a qualifying child. Www irs gov Rule 11—You Must Be at Least Age 25 but Under Age 65 You must be at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of 2013. Www irs gov 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 2013. Www irs gov It does not matter which spouse meets the age test, as long as one of the spouses does. Www irs gov You meet the age test if you were born after December 31, 1948, and before January 2, 1989. Www irs gov If you are married filing a joint return, you meet the age test if either you or your spouse was born after December 31, 1948, and before January 2, 1989. Www irs gov If neither you nor your spouse meets the age test, you cannot claim the EIC. Www irs gov Put “No” next to line 64a (Form 1040), line 38a (Form 1040A), or line 8a (Form 1040EZ). Www irs gov Death of spouse. Www irs gov   If you are filing a joint return with your spouse who died in 2013, you meet the age test if your spouse was at least age 25 but under age 65 at the time of death. Www irs gov Example 1. Www irs gov You are age 28 and unmarried. Www irs gov You meet the age test. Www irs gov Example 2—spouse meets age test. Www irs gov You are married and filing a joint return. Www irs gov You are age 23 and your spouse is age 27. Www irs gov You meet the age test because your spouse is at least age 25 but under age 65. Www irs gov Example 3—spouse dies in 2013. Www irs gov You are married and filing a joint return with your spouse who died in August 2013. Www irs gov You are age 67. Www irs gov Your spouse would have become age 65 in November 2013. Www irs gov Because your spouse was under age 65 when she died, you meet the age test. Www irs gov Rule 12—You Cannot Be the Dependent of Another Person If you are not filing a joint return, you meet this rule if: You checked box 6a on Form 1040 or 1040A, or You did not check the “You” box on line 5 of Form 1040EZ, and you entered $10,000 on that line. Www irs gov If you are filing a joint return, you meet this rule if: You checked both box 6a and box 6b on Form 1040 or 1040A, or You and your spouse did not check either the “You” box or the “Spouse” box on line 5 of Form 1040EZ, and you entered $20,000 on that line. Www irs gov If you are not sure whether someone else can claim you as a dependent, get Publication 501 and read the rules for claiming a dependent. Www irs gov If someone else can claim you as a dependent on his or her return, but does not, you still cannot claim the credit. Www irs gov Example 1. Www irs gov In 2013, you were age 25, single, and living at home with your parents. Www irs gov You worked and were not a student. Www irs gov You earned $7,500. Www irs gov Your parents cannot claim you as a dependent. Www irs gov When you file your return, you claim an exemption for yourself by not checking the You box on line 5 of your Form 1040EZ and by entering $10,000 on that line. Www irs gov You meet this rule. Www irs gov You can claim the EIC if you meet all the other requirements. Www irs gov Example 2. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that you earned $2,000. Www irs gov Your parents can claim you as a dependent but decide not to. Www irs gov You do not meet this rule. Www irs gov You cannot claim the credit because your parents could have claimed you as a dependent. Www irs gov Joint returns. Www irs gov   You generally cannot be claimed as a dependent by another person if you are married and file a joint return. Www irs gov   However, another person may be able to claim you as a dependent if you and your spouse file a joint return merely to claim a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid. Www irs gov But neither you nor your spouse can be claimed as a dependent by another person if you claim the EIC on your joint return. Www irs gov Example 1—return filed to get refund of tax withheld. Www irs gov You are 26 years old. Www irs gov You and your wife live with your parents and had $800 of wages from part-time jobs and no other income. Www irs gov Neither you nor your wife is required to file a tax return. Www irs gov You do not have a child. Www irs gov Taxes were taken out of your pay so you file a joint return only to get a refund of the withheld taxes. Www irs gov Your parents are not disqualified from claiming an exemption for you just because you filed a joint return. Www irs gov They can claim exemptions for you and your wife if all the other tests to do so are met. Www irs gov Example 2—return filed to get EIC. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1except no taxes were taken out of your pay. Www irs gov Also, you and your wife are not required to file a tax return, but you file a joint return to claim an EIC of $63 and get a refund of that amount. Www irs gov Because claiming the EIC is your reason for filing the return, you are not filing it only to claim a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid. Www irs gov Your parents cannot claim an exemption for either you or your wife. Www irs gov Rule 13—You Cannot Be a Qualifying Child of Another Taxpayer You are a qualifying child of another taxpayer (your parent, guardian, foster parent, etc. Www irs gov ) if all of the following statements are true. Www irs gov You are that person's son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of them. Www irs gov Or, you are that person's brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them. Www irs gov You were: Under age 19 at the end of the year and younger than that person (or that person's spouse, if the person files jointly), Under age 24 at the end of the year, a student, and younger than that person (or that person's spouse, if the person files jointly), or Permanently and totally disabled, regardless of age. Www irs gov You lived with that person in the United States for more than half of the year. Www irs gov You are not filing a joint return for the year (or are filing a joint return only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid). Www irs gov For more details about the tests to be a qualifying child, see Rule 8. Www irs gov If you are a qualifying child of another taxpayer, you cannot claim the EIC. Www irs gov This is true even if the person for whom you are a qualifying child does not claim the EIC or meet all of the rules to claim the EIC. Www irs gov Put “No” next to line 64a (Form 1040), line 38a (Form 1040A), or line 8a (Form 1040EZ). Www irs gov Example. Www irs gov You lived with your mother all year. Www irs gov You are age 26, unmarried, and permanently and totally disabled. Www irs gov Your only income was from a community center where you went three days a week to answer telephones. Www irs gov You earned $5,000 for the year and provided more than half of your own support. Www irs gov Because you meet the relationship, age, residency, and joint return tests, you are a qualifying child of your mother for the EIC. Www irs gov She can claim the EIC if she meets all the other requirements. Www irs gov Because you are a qualifying child of your mother, you cannot claim the EIC. Www irs gov This is so even if your mother cannot or does not claim the EIC. Www irs gov Joint returns. Www irs gov   You generally cannot be a qualifying child of another taxpayer if you are married and file a joint return. Www irs gov   However, you may be a qualifying child of another taxpayer if you and your spouse file a joint return merely to claim a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid. Www irs gov But neither you nor your spouse can be a qualifying child of another taxpayer if you claim the EIC on your joint return. Www irs gov Child of person not required to file a return. Www irs gov   You are not the qualifying child of another taxpayer (and so may qualify to claim the EIC) if the person for whom you meet the relationship, age, residency, and joint return tests is not required to file an income tax return and either: Does not file an income tax return, or Files a return only to get a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid. Www irs gov Example 1—return not required. Www irs gov You lived all year with your father. Www irs gov You are 27 years old, unmarried, permanently and totally disabled, and earned $13,000. Www irs gov You have no other income, no children, and provided more than half of your own support. Www irs gov Your father had no gross income, is not required to file a 2013 tax return, and does not file a 2013 tax return. Www irs gov As a result, you are not your father's qualifying child. Www irs gov You can claim the EIC if you meet all the other requirements to do so. Www irs gov Example 2—return filed to get refund of tax withheld. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 1 except your father had wages of $1,500 and had income tax withheld from his wages. Www irs gov He files a return only to get a refund of the income tax withheld and does not claim the EIC or any other tax credits or deductions. Www irs gov As a result, you are not your father's qualifying child. Www irs gov You can claim the EIC if you meet all the other requirements to do so. Www irs gov Example 3—return filed to get EIC. Www irs gov The facts are the same as in Example 2 except your father claimed the EIC on his return. Www irs gov Since he filed the return to get the EIC, he is not filing it only to get a refund of income tax withheld. Www irs gov As a result, you are your father's qualifying child. Www irs gov You cannot claim the EIC. Www irs gov Rule 14—You Must Have Lived in the United States More Than Half of the Year Your home (and your spouse's, if filing a joint return) must have been in the United States for more than half the year. Www irs gov If it was not, put “No” next to line 64a (Form 1040), line 38a (Form 1040A), or line 8a (Form 1040EZ). Www irs gov United States. Www irs gov   This means the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Www irs gov It does not include Puerto Rico or U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov possessions such as Guam. Www irs gov Homeless shelter. Www irs gov   Your home can be any location where you regularly live. Www irs gov You do not need a traditional home. Www irs gov If you lived in one or more homeless shelters in the United States for more than half the year, you meet this rule. Www irs gov Military personnel stationed outside the United States. Www irs gov   U. Www irs gov S. Www irs gov military personnel stationed outside the United States on extended active duty (defined in chapter 2) are considered to live in the United States during that duty period for purposes of the EIC. Www irs gov Chapter 4—Figuring and Claiming the EIC You must meet one more rule to claim the EIC. Www irs gov You need to know the amount of your earned income to see if you meet the rule in this chapter. Www irs gov You also need to know that amount to figure your EIC. Www irs gov Rule 15—Earned Income Limits Your earned income must be less than: $46,227 ($51,567 for married filing jointly) if you have three or more qualifying children, $43,038 ($48,378 for married filing jointly) if you have two qualifying children, $37,870 ($43,210 for married filing jointly) if you have one qualifying child, or $14,340 ($19,680 for married filing jointly) if you do not have a qualifying child. Www irs gov Earned Income Earned income generally means wages, salaries, tips, other taxable employee pay, and net earnings from self-employment. Www irs gov Employee pay is earned income only if it is taxable. Www irs gov Nontaxable employee pay, such as certain dependent care benefits and adoption benefits, is not earned income. Www irs gov But there is an exception for nontaxable combat pay, which you can choose to include in earned income. Www irs gov Earned income is explained in detail in Rule 7 in chapter 1. Www irs gov Figuring earned income. Www irs gov   If you are self-employed, a statutory employee, or a member of the clergy or a church employee who files Schedule SE (Form 1040), you will figure your earned income when you fill out Part 4 of EIC Worksheet B in the Form 1040 instructions. Www irs gov   Otherwise, figure your earned income by using the worksheet in Step 5 of the Form 1040 instructions for lines 64a and 64b or the Form 1040A instructions for lines 38a and 38b, or the worksheet in Step 2 of the Form 1040EZ instructions for lines 8a and 8b. Www irs gov   When using one of those worksheets to figure your earned income, you will start with the amount on line 7 (Form 1040 or Form 1040A) or line 1 (Form 1040EZ). Www irs gov You will then reduce that amount by any amount included on that line and described in the following list. Www irs gov Scholarship or fellowship grants not reported on a Form W-2. Www irs gov A scholarship or fellowship grant that was not reported to you on a Form W-2 is not considered earned income for the earned income credit. Www irs gov Inmate's income. Www irs gov Amounts received for work performed while an inmate in a penal institution are not earned income for the earned income credit. Www irs gov This includes amounts received for work performed while in a work release program or while in a halfway house. Www irs gov If you received any amount for work done while an inmate in a penal institution and that amount is included in the total on line 7 (Form 1040 or Form 1040A) or line 1 (Form 1040EZ), put “PRI” and the amount on the dotted line next to line 7 (Form 1040), in the space to the left of the entry space for line 7 (Form 1040A), or in the space to the left of line 1 (Form 1040EZ). Www irs gov Pension or annuity from deferred compensation plans. Www irs gov A pension or annuity from a nonqualified deferred compensation plan or a nongovernmental section 457 plan is not considered earned income for the earned income credit. Www irs gov If you received such an amount and it was included in the total on line 7 (Form 1040 or Form 1040A) or line 1 (Form 1040EZ), put “DFC” and the amount on the dotted line next to line 7 (Form 1040), in the space to the left of the entry space for line 7 (Form 1040A), or in the space to the left of line 1 (Form 1040EZ). Www irs gov This amount may be reported in box 11 of your Form W-2. Www irs gov If you received such an amount but box 11 is blank, contact your employer for the amount received as a pension or an annuity. Www irs gov Clergy. Www irs gov   If you are a member of the clergy who files Schedule SE and the amount on line 2 of that schedule includes an amount that was also re