Kansas Earned Income Tax Credit

Qualifying for the Kansas Earned Income Credit

A city street in Wichita, Kansas
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Kansas is among 28 states that offer their own versions of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), as well as the District of Columbia. Kansas' credit dates back to 1998. It was expanded in 2007 and again in 2010, although the second increase was temporary.

The Kansas credit is refundable, like the federal EITC. This means that Kansas will send you a check for the difference if your tax credit exceeds the amount of tax you owe when you finish calculating your state tax return. And if you owe the state nothing, you'll get that much more of a refund.

Kansas Earned Income Tax Credit History

The 2010 increase pushed Kansas’ EITC up to 18% of what a resident taxpayer received at the federal level, but this lasted only until 2012. As of 2018, Kansas' EITC rate was just 17%, but this figure wasn’t arrived at without some legislative drama.

The Kansas Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation initially reduced the state’s EITC to 9% in March 2013. The full Senate passed the bill, but the chairman of the House Taxation Committee balked. The bill was amended in April 2013, and the EITC ultimately remained at 17%.

Then came Senate Bill 251 during the 2015 legislative session. Once again, lawmakers tried to slash the credit, dropping it to 8% this time. They also wanted to make the credit nonrefundable, so Kansas would keep the balance rather than refund the money to you if it exceeded what you owed in state taxes. The bill failed.

Senate Bill 200 contemplated increasing the state's EITC to 20% of the federal credit in 2015 as well. That bill also failed.

Who Qualifies? 

All taxpayers who qualify for the federal earned income tax credit also qualify for the Kansas EITC. The qualifying rules are the same.

This means that you must have earned income—you work for an employer or you work for yourself in your own business—and you must file a tax return to qualify. You must claim the federal earned income tax credit on your federal return to be eligible for the Kansas credit. You must be a Kansas resident. You can’t live outside the state and simply work there.

You must have a valid Social Security number, and be a resident alien or U.S. citizen all year.

You can't be claimed as a dependent or a qualifying child on another taxpayer's return, and you must be at least age 25 but not more than age 65 on Dec. 31, the last day of the tax year, to claim the credit without a qualifying dependent. You must also live in the United States more than half the year.

This age requirement applies to both you and your spouse if you're married and file a joint return.

Married taxpayers who file separate returns aren't eligible for the EITC, either at the federal level or in Kansas.

Special, more lenient rules exist for military members, clergy members, and the disabled, so check with a tax professional or clinic to find out if you qualify if you fall into any of these categories. You can also use the IRS EITC Assistant online for qualifying guidance.

2019 Federal EITC Income Limits

As of the 2019 tax year, single, head of household, and widowed filers qualify for the federal EITC with no qualified child dependents at adjusted gross incomes (AGIs) of less than $15,570. The limit increases to $41,094 with one child, to $46,703 with two children, and to $50,162 with three or more child dependents.

Married filers of joint returns have higher AGI limits: $21,370 with no children, $46,884 with one child, $52,493 with two children, and $55,952 with three or more.

These figures are indexed for inflation based on the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U), so they can be expected to increase somewhat annually.

2019 Federal EITC Amounts

For the 2019 tax year, maximum federal EITC credit amounts are:

  • $529 with no qualifying children
  • $3,526 with one qualifying child
  • $5,828 with two qualifying children
  • $6,557 with three or more qualifying children

At 17% of the federal credit, the Kansas credit would work out to about $991 for a taxpayer with two qualifying children, in addition to the $5,828 received from the federal government.

How to Claim the Credit

Page 8 of the instructions for Form K-40, the Kansas Individual Income Tax Return, provides a worksheet that walks you through the calculations to determine the exact amount of your credit. Simply enter the amount on line 17 of the return when you're finished. 

You’ll need to know the amount of your federal earned income credit to complete the worksheet. If you’re filing your Kansas return first, so you don’t yet know the amount of your federal EITC, the Kansas Department of Revenue recommends filing your state return without claiming the credit. Pay any taxes that may be due.

Then, when you file your federal return and know the amount of your federal credit, you can file an amended Kansas tax return to claim the earned income credit at that time. 

Article Sources

  1. Tax Policy Center. "How Do State Earned Income Tax Credits Work?" Accessed Oct. 10, 2019.

  2. University of Kansas School of Law. "The Kansas Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)," Page 11. Accessed Oct. 10, 2019.

  3. Tax Credits for Workers and Families. "Kansas," Accessed Oct. 10, 2019.

  4. Kansas Department of Revenue. "Frequently Asked Questions About Individual Income," Accessed Oct. 10, 2019.

  5. Internal Revenue Service. "Claiming EITC Without a Qualifying Child," Accessed Oct. 10, 2019.

  6. Internal Revenue Service. "2019 EITC Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts, and Tax Law Updates," Accessed Oct. 10, 2019.