For our friends and clients who may have been affected by the hurricanes, special rules might enable you to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if you normally do not, or a larger amount than you’re used to. If your income dropped in 2017 and you live in one of the federally declared disaster areas, you can choose to compute your 2017 the EITC using your 2016 earned income number if it was less. Because there can be many factors in any income tax computation, we recommend that you figure your 2017 taxes using both methods to see which one yields the highest EITC.
If you want to read up on this, see the instructions for form 1040, line 66, and publication 976, available at irs.gov here: https://www.irs.gov/forms-instructions
The EITC rules and computations can be complex, and for many taxpayers using a professional to help with your taxes can insure an accurate tax return with the highest EITC you are entitled to. The EITC can yield up to a $6,318 refund for a working family with qualifying children, meaning that a few hundred dollars invested in a tax professional can go a long way.