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How to Claim the Child Tax Credit

How to claim child tax credit is simple. The more qualifying children there are, the more you will save on your tax bill. The tax credit for dependent children is important to take the time to plan for to get the most of this family tax benefit. With a credit for as much as $1,000 a child, it is a true tax credit rather than just a deduction on taxes, which actually reduces the tax bill.


In order to take this family tax benefit, the child dependent needs to be a U.S. citizen or resident under 17 years of age at the end of the year. Children who qualify for the benefit can be your own child, adopted child, stepchild, a grandchild or great grandchild. Foster children can be claimed if placed by a court or authorized agency with you. The dependent child must also have lived with you for over half of the tax year, and you must provide over half of his overall financial support.


Check with the IRS to determine if your income qualifies for the tax year. For example, income limits for 2009 and 2010 include married and filing jointly, up to $110,000 earnings. If single, a widower or head of household, you may have an income of up to $75,000. If married but filing separately, you can only earn up to $55,000. Income that exceeds limits receive a reduction of $50 for every $1,000 in excess. If you do not owe enough in taxes, the credit is reduced and not issued.

IRS Tax Forms

You must file IRS Form 1040 or 1040A to claim the allowed child tax credit. You may not use Form 1040EZ to claim this family tax benefit.

Additional Tax Credit

If you do not qualify for the child tax credit, you may be able to qualify for the additional child tax credit. As a refundable tax credit, it is designed for people who had a child who qualifies, but were not able to receive the full child tax credit amount. This refundable tax credit is available even if no tax liability exists.

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