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Taxpayers Receiving an EIC Tax Refund in 2022 Will Have to Wait Longer

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Feb. 7 2022, Published 12:14 p.m. ET

If you earned a low-to-moderate income in 2021, you might be entitled to claim the EIC (Earned Income Credit), also known as the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit), on your 2021 tax return. This may or may not entitle you to an EIC tax refund in 2022, or as we call it, a few extra dollars in your pocket.

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If you’re eligible to claim the EIC on your taxes, we regret to inform you that the IRS won’t be issuing refunds for this credit as quickly as it will for others. What is the EIC tax credit, who qualifies for it, and when will the IRS start issuing EIC tax refunds in 2022?

What's the EIC and who qualifies for it?

EIC tax refund 2022
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The EIC is a refundable tax credit certain taxpayers can claim on their tax returns. Your income, filing status, and the number of children you intend to claim on taxes are all used to determine eligibility status. They’re also used to calculate how much of a credit you can claim. Below, you’ll find the basic rules the IRS uses to determine if you qualify for the EIC:

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  • Your 2021 investment income was below $10,000.
  • You have a valid Social Security number.
  • You were a U.S. citizen or a resident alien for all of 2021.
  • You won’t be filing Form 2555 in 2021.

In addition to meeting the criteria above, you must also file using one of these statuses:

*If your 2021 tax return is filed using the "married filing separately" status, you can only claim the EIC if you had a qualifying child who lived with you for more than half of 2021 and either of the following applies:

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  • You lived separately from your spouse during the last six months of 2021.
  • You're legally separated from your spouse and you didn’t live with him/her at the end of 2021.

It’s worth noting that the IRS does allow those who meet the basic rules outlined above to claim the EIC on taxes, whether they have qualifying children or not. A qualifying child is one who is under the age of 19 and received support from you for more than half of 2021.

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When will the IRS start issuing EIC tax refunds in 2022?

Although the IRS says that it typically begins issuing tax refunds within 21 days of accepting your return, those claiming the EIC might have to wait longer. According to the IRS website, the agency won’t start issuing EIC tax refunds until March 1, 2022, or a few days earlier for those who have direct deposit set up.

Essentially, you might have to wait until the beginning of March for your entire refund to be issued by the IRS.

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What's the maximum earned income for claiming the EIC on 2021 tax returns?

The IRS imposes strict rules when it comes to claiming the EIC on taxes. Below you’ll find the IRS table that stipulates the maximum amount you can earn in order to qualify for the EIC.

# of Children Claimed on TaxesMaximum AGI if filing as Single, Head of Household, Widowed or Married Filing SeparatelyMaximum AGI if filing as Married Filing Jointly
0$21,430$27,380
1$42,158$48,108
2$47,915$53,865
3$51,464$57,414

How much will I receive for the EIC in 2022?

If you claim the EIC on your 2021 tax return, this is how much of a credit you can expect to receive:

  • $1,502 if you have no qualifying children
  • $3,618, if you have 1 qualifying child
  • $5,980, if you have 2 qualifying children
  • $6,728, if you have 3 or more qualifying children

The maximum EIC you can collect in 2022 is $6,728, regardless of whether you have more than three qualifying children.

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