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Child Tax Credit Eligibility: How to Know If You Qualify

Family tax benefits exist for families with dependent children to ease the costs associated with raising children, and each child tax credit eligibility consists of as much as $1,000 per qualifying child. Since it is an actual tax credit, it cuts down the tax bill as opposed to just providing a tax deduction. It is important to become educated about all of the possible child and dependent tax benefits to get the most out of them.  

Child Tax Credit

As explained in IRS publications, the child tax credit is for individuals and families who have one or more qualifying children. As a separate tax benefit, it may be claimed in addition to the Credit for Child and Dependent Care expenses. Read Publication 3965, 3961 ENG/SP, 972 and Form 8812 for official information about child tax credits and other available benefits which relate to dependent children.

Child Relationship Identity

To qualify, the child must be a daughter, son, a legally adopted child stepchild, brother, sister, foster child, stepsister, stepbrother or an actual descendant of any of those individuals. This may include a niece, nephew or grandchild. You must claim the child as a dependent on your tax return.

Age and Support Test

Each child must be under the age of 17 at the end of the tax year to qualify and have not have provided over half of their own support.

Citizenship and Residency

Children for whom tax credits are taken must be U.S. citizens, or have U.S. resident alien or U.S. national status. The child must have lived with the person claiming the credit for over half of the year. See IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit for some exceptions to this rule.

Income Limitations

The child tax family benefit is modified according to adjusted gross income. Married taxpayers filing on a joint status return may not claim the benefit if income exceeds $110,000. Married taxpayers who file separate returns can earn $55,000. Other taxpayers can earn up to $75,000 for the credit. Also, the tax credit may be limited according to the amount of income tax owed, in addition to alternative minimum taxes due.

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