Friend’s EIC

Today TaxMama hears from Mike in Portland, OR who tells us. “My girlfriend and I recently did our taxes, separately. We both already filed, too. However, when I did mine, I checked for an EIC and got more of a refund than she did. Unfortunately, she already filed and received a refund. I know she would qualify for the EIC, but she just didn’t know about the option. Is there a way for her to “re-file” with the EIC on her return and get the extra money that she missed out on?”

Dear Mike,

Good of you to be looking out for her. But, if you live together, only one person in the household can get the EIC.

If you each have your own home, and your own children, then it’s worth checking to see if she qualifies for an Earned Income Credit.

Remember, it’s based on a person’s level of income, the number of children she supports. So, it’s possible that her tax return might already include whatever amount of EIC she’s entitled to have. You’ll find all the EIC tools and resources you need here: http://www.taxmama.com/new/AskTaxMama/#EITC_Resources

However, if your girlfriend does qualify, since she already has her refund, your girlfriend can amend her tax return by filing a Form 1040X. (Here are instructions on how to use it
http://www.taxmama.com/AskTaxMama/132/oops.html )

Bear in mind, refund returns are scrutinized by IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division.

Tax returns claiming an Earned Income Credit are examined even more closely, since there is so much EIC fraud.

Amended returns are handled manually and not by computers.

And amended tax returns asking for EIC refunds are looked at most closely of all.

So, before filing this amended tax return, be absolutely certain that your girlfriend qualifies, on all counts. IRS takes EIC fraud so seriously, that if someone is caught, they will lose the right to receive the Earned Income Credit for 10 years…and worse things can happen. So don’t even go there.

But, if it’s a legitimate claim – you betcha – file for it and get that money now, when she needs it.

Incidentally, if you don’t file for it, sooner or later, she will get a letter from IRS suggesting that she might be entitled to an EIC and inviting her to claim it. But that could take 18 months or so.

Remember, you’ll find answers to questions about tax credits and all kinds of tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com

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