My family and I live abroad. Can I still use the Earned Income Tax Credit?

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) benefits working U.S. citizens and Green Card holders with low to moderate income. For 2017, only those with a gross income of between $15,010 and $53,930 were eligible to qualify for the credit. Eligibility also depends on family composition and filing status.

In order to qualify for the earned income tax credit you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You had a dependent child under age of 19 living with you in the United States for more than half the calendar year.
  • If you do not have a qualifying child, you must:
    • be between the ages of 25 and 65 at the end of the year,
    • live in the United States for more than half the year, and
    • not qualify as a dependent of another person.

Other qualifying factors can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Married couples filing separately cannot claim the credit.
  • You cannot have filed a Foreign Earned Income Exclusion using Form 2555 or 2555-EZ for any part of the year.
  • Your investment income can not have exceeded $3,450 for the year.

It is important to note that this is a rarely viable tax strategy for expats because you must forego filing Form 2555 (the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion) in order to be eligible.

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