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Category: Tax Questions

Child Tax Credit

The child tax credit is a non-refundable credit, which means that it reduces the amount of tax that you have to pay.  If tax liability is already reduced to zero, the credit will not be added to the tax refund.  The Child Tax Credit has a limit of $1000 per qualifying child, which is phased out based on the amount of tax owed and the modified adjusted gross income.

A qualifying child:
  1. Is the taxpayer's son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, sibling, stepsibling, or descendent of any of them (grandchild, niece, nephew, etc),
  2. Lived with the taxpayer for more than half of the year,
  3. Is under age 17 at the end of the calendar year in which your tax year begins,
  4. Did not provide over half or his or her own support
  5. Is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident (child tax credits are not allowed for children residing in Canada or Mexico even if they qualify as dependents),
  6. Is younger than the taxpayer claiming the child,
  7. Does not file a joint tax return with a spouse unless the return is filed to claim a refund and no tax liability would have existed had the child and spouse filed separately,
  8. Is allowed to be claimed as a dependent of the taxpayer claiming the child tax credit, and
  9. Is claimed as a dependent by his or her parents, if allowed. If not claimed by another taxpayer, but only if the AGI is higher than the AGI of any parent or child.

Additional links:
Instructions for Form 8812, Additional Child Tax Credit
Publication 972, Child Tax Credit

Last Updated: 4/1/2015

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