Child Tax Credit
The Child Tax Credit (for children younger than 17 years of age on December 31) is a maximum tax credit of up to $2,000 per qualified person. Meanwhile, the Credit for other Dependents age 17 or older can be worth up to $500. Here is a list of who could be a qualified person or your relationship with that person for either the Child Tax Credit or the Credit for Other Dependents:
- Biological child, child lawfully placed for legal adoption, adopted child, stepchild, foster child, descendant of your child
- Brother or sister, half-brother or half-sister, stepbrother or stepsister, child of your brother or sister, child of your half-brother or half-sister, child of your stepbrother or stepsister, other descendant of your brother or sister, other descendant of your half-brother or half-sister, other descendant of your stepbrother or stepsister
- Parent, grandparent, other direct ancestor, stepparent, foster parent, brother or sister of your parent, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, father-in-law or mother-in-law, brother-in-law or sister-in-law
- None of the above or not related
- Detailed overview on qualifying dependents.
The Child Tax Credit can be refundable for each qualifying dependent on your tax return and you must have earned income of at least $2,500 to even be eligible for the refund. A taxpayer can qualify for the full $2,000 Child Tax Credit if their modified adjusted gross income or MAGI is below $200,000 for single filers or $400,000 for joint filers. After those thresholds, the credit reduces by $50 for every $1,000, or 5%.
- Note: The Child Tax Credit is intended to help offset the tremendous costs of raising a child or children. It is a partially refundable tax credit; you can not qualify without earned income. For 2021 Taxes only, the CTC was fully refundable and you did not need to work to claim it. This does not apply to the Child Tax Credit in any other year.
Remember that in most cases, a tax credit is more advantageous than a tax deduction. A credit directly reduces your tax bill dollar-for-dollar, but a deduction only reduces your taxable income.
Related: Keep up with annual tax law changes.
Our CHILDucator tax educator tool will help determine if your child or dependent qualifies you to claim the Child Tax Credit on your tax return. Just answer the "Yes" and "No" questions until the CHILDucator provides you with an answer! The best way to determine whether or not you qualify for the credit is to start and eFile a tax return on eFile.com. The eFile app will select the correct forms based on your answers to several tax questions and calculate your Child Tax Credit amount.
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Additional Child Tax Credit
If your taxes owed are reduced to $0, and you still have some Child Tax Credit left over, you may be able to receive some or all of it as a tax refund by claiming the Additional Child Tax Credit. We know figuring this out can confuse taxpayers, but don't worry: the eFile app will automatically calculate this amount for you. Just enter your tax data and let eFile.com do your hard work. Start a free eFile.com account.
Be aware that the maximum refundable portion of the credit is $1,600, $1,700 in 2024. Therefore, if your tax is $0 and your total earned income is at least $2,500, you can claim the refundable part of the credit. Generally, the Child Tax Credit is nonrefundable; however, certain taxpayers may be entitled to a refundable Additional CTC if the following requirements apply:
• Taxpayers with more than $2,500 of taxable earned income if they have at least one qualifying child.
• Taxpayers with three or more children may also be eligible, regardless of their income.
The refundable credit is limited to $1,600 per qualifying child, $1,700 in 2024.
The Additional Child Tax Credit Schedule 8812 is generated via the eFile Tax App. Additional information and rules relating to an adopted child, foster child, or qualifying child of more than one person are also applied. If your Additional CTC was previously disallowed, you might need to complete Form 8862 and eFileIT. On your eFile account, you can add this form when entering your dependent information.
Note: The Child Tax Credit, the Additional CTC, and the Credit for Other Dependents are all completed on Schedule 8812. The eFile Tax App will complete this form based on your dependent information and eFileIT.
Child Tax Credit Qualifications
You can claim the Child Tax Credit if your income is not too high (see the income limitations for the Child Tax Credit) and if you have a child or children who qualify. Use the CHILDucator Tool above to determine if your child qualifies you to claim the credit. Our CHILDucator is a multi-year tool, so you can also use it for previous years' tax returns! See all of the requirements for the Child Tax Credit.
Dependents who can’t be claimed for the Child Tax Credit may still qualify you for the Credit for Other Dependents. This is a non-refundable tax credit of up to $500 per qualifying person. The qualifying dependent must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien. You can use our DEPENDucator tool to see if your dependent qualifies for this credit.
Once you have determined if you can claim the Child Tax Credit, use the FREE tax calculator, or "TaxStimator", to calculate and estimate your tax refund (or taxes owed) for the current tax year. Then, start a free eFile.com account and prepare your tax return—it's that easy!
How to Claim the Child Tax Credit
It's easy to claim the Child Tax Credit (and the Additional Child Tax Credit) when you prepare and e-file your tax return on eFile.com. Based on your entered information, we will automatically determine if you qualify for the credit. If you qualify to claim the credit, we will then calculate your credit amount and fill out the correct forms for you to get your maximum credit.
See a detailed overview of Tax Rules for Dependents via IRS Publication 929 and more details on children and taxes.
Tax Calculators by Tax Year
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