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Child Tax Credit 2020

IRS Child
Tax Credit

If you have a qualifying child at the age of 16 or younger as of December 31, 2020, you may be able to claim the Child Tax Credit. Part of the Child Tax Credit can be refundable, so it may give you a refund even if you don't owe 2020 taxes.

Here are some important facts about the Child Tax Credit:

  • The Child Tax Credit is intended to offset the many expenses of raising children.
  • The Child Tax Credit can be worth as much as $2,000 per child for Tax Years 2018-2025. 
  • For Tax Years 2018-2025, the maximum refundable portion of the credit is $1,400 (equal to 15% of earned income above $2,500). If your tax is $0 and your total earned income is at least $2,500, you can claim the refundable part of the credit. (see the Additional Child Tax Credit).
  • For 2020, the Child Tax Credit begins to phase out (decrease in value) at an adjusted gross income of $200,000 for Single or at $400,000 for Married Filing Jointly).
  • When figuring your income for the purposes of the Child Tax Credit, you must include any foreign income exclusions.

Use the eFile.com KIDucator tax educator tool below to help you find out if you are eligible to claim the Child Tax Credit on your 2020 Tax Return: 

Find out if your child qualifies you for the Child Tax Credit!

To qualify for the Child Tax Credit, you must have a child or dependent who meets all of the following requirements:

  • Age: The child must have been 16 or younger on December 31 of the tax year.

  • Citizenship: The child must be a United States citizen, a United States national, or a resident alien.

  • Dependent: The child must be claimed as a dependent on your tax return. See the free eFile.com DEPENDucator if you are not sure if someone qualifies as a dependent.

  • Relationship: The child must be related to you in one of the following ways: son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, grandchild, niece, or nephew. This includes any legally adopted child, any child lawfully placed with you in preparation for adoption, and any foster child lawfully placed in your care.

  • Residency: The child must have lived with you for more than half of the year (stayed with you for at least 183 nights). Temporary absences for special circumstances are generally acceptable and special rules may apply if you are divorced or for other certain circumstances.

  • Support: The child must NOT have provided more than half of his or her own financial support for the year.

Additional Child Tax Credit

The Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) is a refundable credit that you may receive if your Child Tax Credit is greater than the total amount of income taxes you owe, as long as you had an earned income of at least $2,500. For 2020 returns, the ACTC is worth $1,400.

Schedule 8812, Additional Child Tax Credit, is the outputted form that the eFile tax app will generate when you e-File your 2020 Taxes with eFile.com. It is used to determine if you qualify for the credit and to calculate the amount of the credit you will receive. eFile.com will do all required math and generate the form for you when you prepare your return.

For 2020, the Child Tax Credit is at least partially refundable if you had a minimum earned income of $2,500. Partially refundable means that some of the credit is nonrefundable while some is refundable and the amounts will be reported in two separate sections of your return. A nonrefundable credit means that the credit cannot be used to increase your tax refund or to create a tax refund when you don’t already have one. Refundable tax credits, on the other hand, are treated as payments of tax you made during the year. When the total of these credits is greater than the tax you owe, the IRS sends you a tax refund for the difference. For more details on refundable and nonrefundable credits, click here.

Only one taxpayer (or married couple filing jointly) may claim any one child for the purposes of the Child Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. If a child is claimed as a dependent on more than one tax return, the IRS will determine who gets the claim according to a set of tiebreaker rules. Details on dependent claiming disputes here.

Child-Related Tax Savings

Here are other ways you can save taxes on raising children: 

  • Child and Dependent Care Credit: You may be able to deduct up to $3,000 for one dependent, or up to $6,000 for more than one dependent with the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
  • Adoption Tax Credit: If you adopted a child, or if you are in the process of adopting a child, you may qualify for the Adoption Tax Credit.
  • Filing Status: If you are unmarried and your child lived with you for more than half of the year, you may qualify for a higher standard deduction and lower tax rates by filing as Head-of-Household.
  • Credits and Deductions: your child may qualify for different education credits or education deductions when enrolled in a qualifying school program.

When you prepare your tax return on eFile.com, we will automatically check to see if you qualify for the Child Tax Credit. If you qualify for the credit, the exact amount will be calculated for you. We will select the right form and fill it out in order for you to get your maximum credit amount.

See what other tax credits and tax deductions may be available to you.