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Federal Child Tax Credit
 
What is the CTC?
 
Am I Eligible?
 
How Much CTC Will I Get?
 
How Do I Claim the CTC?
 
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FEDERAL CHILD TAX CREDIT (CTC)

Am I Eligible?


Am I eligible for the Child Tax Credit?

Who is a qualifying child?

What are the income rules for the Child Tax Credit?

Am I eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit?


NOTE: Glossary words are highlighted. Click on any glossary word to see its definition.

Am I eligible for the Child Tax Credit?

You are eligible for the Child Tax Credit if:


Who is a qualifying child?

A child is a qualifying child for the Child Tax Credit if all of the following are true:

  • The child was younger than age 17 at the end of the tax year

  • The child was your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister, or a descendant of any of these (for example, a grandchild)

  • The child lived with you for more than half of the tax year

    Note: If the child was born or died during the year and lived with you for the entire time he or she was alive during the year, the child meets this requirement. Other exceptions to this rule are explained in the tax form instructions.

  • You are claiming the child as a dependent on your tax return

  • The child is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien

For exceptions and examples, see Child Tax Credit - Qualifying Child (Publication 972) on the IRS web site.


What are the income rules for the Child Tax Credit?

Your income affects the Child Tax Credit in two ways:

  • You will get a reduced Child Tax Credit if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is greater than:

    • $110,000 if married filing jointly
    • $75,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widower
    • $55,000 if married filing separately

    Your child tax credit is reduced $50 for every $1000 that your MAGI exceeds these amounts. For example, if your income is $5000 higher, your credit will be reduced by 5 x $50 = $250; if your income is $10,000 higher, your credit will be reduced by 10 x $50 = $500.

    For an explanation of modified adjusted gross income, see Limits on the Credit - Modified AGI (Publication 972) on the IRS web site.

  • Your Child Tax Credit amount is limited by your tax liability. Since the Child Tax Credit lowers your taxes dollar for dollar, your tax amount affects the amount of your credit. If your tax amount is zero, you cannot claim the credit. If your tax amount is less than your credit amount, you will get a reduced credit.

    Note: If you cannot claim the full Child Tax Credit, you may be eligible for an Additional Child Tax Credit refund payment.

You can find detailed information about the Child Tax Credit income limits in the Child Tax Credit Worksheet included in the Form 1040 Instructions, Form 1040A Instructions, and Form 1040NR Instructions.


Am I eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit?

The Additional Child Tax Credit is a refundable credit for families who cannot claim the full Child Tax Credit because they do not owe enough in taxes. Families who qualify can get a refund payment from the government for all or part of their unused Child Tax Credit, even if their tax liability is zero.

You can claim the Additional Child Tax Credit if:

  • you are eligible for the Child Tax Credit but cannot get the full credit amount because your taxes are too low
     
  • your earned income was more than $3000
     
  • and you file Schedule 8812 with your federal income tax return

The ACTC equals the unused portion of your Child Tax Credit, but not more than 15% of your earned income over $3000.

The Additional Child Tax Credit has special eligibility rules for families with three or more qualifying children who do not meet the earned income requirement. See Schedule 8812 for details.

 
 
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