**If you take the EIC even though you are not eligible and it is determined that your error is due to reckless or intentional disregard of the EIC rules, you will not be allowed to take the credit for 2 years even if you are otherwise eligible to do so. If you fraudulently take the EIC, you will not be allowed to take the credit for 10 years. You may also have to pay penalties.
A qualifying child is a child who is:
- Your son, daughter, adopted child, stepchild, or grandchild or Your brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of your brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister (for example, your niece or nephew), whom you cared for as your own child or A foster child (see the Note below)
- AND was at the end of the tax year, under age 19, or under age 24 and a student, any age and permanently and totally disabled, and
- Lived with you in the United States for more than half of the tax year. If the child did not live with you for the required time, see Exception to "Time Lived With You" below.
Exception to "Time Lived With You" Condition
A child is considered to have lived with you for all of the tax year if the child was born or died in the tax year and your home was this childs home for the entire time he or she was alive in the tax year. Temporary absences, such as for school, vacation, medical care, or detention in a juvenile facility, count as time lived at home. If your child is presumed to have been kidnapped by someone who is not a family member, see Pub. 596 to find out if that child is a qualifying child for the EIC. If you were in the military stationed outside the United States, see Members of the Military below.
Members of the Military
If you were on extended active duty outside the United States, your home is considered to be in the United States during that duty period. Extended active duty is military duty ordered for an indefinite period or for a period of more than 90 days. Once you begin serving extended active duty, you are considered to be on extended active duty even if you serve fewer than 90 days.
Note: Foster child rules apply to determine who is a foster child and when a foster child can be used to claim certain tax benefits which include:
- Dependency exemption.
- Child tax credits.
- Head of household filing status.
- Credit for child and dependent care expenses.