Home » TAX CREDITS » Can You Claim the Child Tax Credit?

Can You Claim the Child Tax Credit?

Published by the IRS
With the Child Tax Credit, you may be able to reduce the federal income tax you owe by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child under the age of 17.
A qualifying child for this credit is someone who meets the following criteria:
Age – Was under age 17 at the end of 2008
Relationship – Is your son, daughter, adopted child, stepchild or eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of these individuals or other eligible person who lived with you all year as a member of your household
Citizenship – Is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or resident of the U.S.
Support – Did not provide over half of his or her own support
Lived with you – Must have lived with you for more than half of 2008 (note that some exceptions to this criteria exist)
The credit is limited if your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount. The amount at which this phase-out begins varies depending on your filing status:
Married Filing Jointly $110,000
Married Filing Separately $ 55,000
All others $ 75,000
In addition, the Child Tax Credit is generally limited by the amount of the income tax you owe as well as any alternative minimum tax you owe.
If the amount of your Child Tax Credit is greater than the amount of income tax you owe, you may be able to claim some or all of the difference as an “Additional” Child Tax Credit. The Additional Child Tax Credit may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax. The total amount of the Child Tax Credit and any Additional Child Tax Credit cannot exceed the maximum of $1,000 for each qualifying child.
For more information see IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit, available from the IRS Web site at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Form 8812, Additional Child Tax Credit (PDF 56K)
Publication 972, Child Tax Credit (PDF 128K)
Form 1040 (PDF 176K)
Form 1040 Instructions (PDF 1,101K)
Form 1040A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (PDF 136K)
Form 1040A Instructions (PDF 428K)
Tax Topic 606

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