Taxes 101

Child Tax Credit Eligibility

Understanding the Child Tax Credit

  • If you are claiming a dependent on your taxes that is under the age of 17, you may also be eligible to take the child tax credit. This credit can be as much as $1,000 per child and is used to lower the amount of your tax liability. This amount is not a refundable credit, so you will not receive any money back, but it can lower your tax liability to zero, depending on your specific set of circumstance. There are certain requirements that must be met in order to qualify for the child tax credit. Below is a look at the certain qualification that must be met in order to take this credit.


    The child you are claiming for the child tax credit must be under the age of 17-years old and younger than you. This means that he/she must be 16-years old or younger at the end of the calendar year.


    The child must also be your child, adopted child or foster child, or the child can also be another type of relative, such as a brother, sister, step-brother, step-sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild. This child must be listed as a dependent on your tax return, and cannot be claimed by anyone else.


    You must also have paid for more than one-half of the child's care and support during the course of the calendar year. If the child was able to contribute more than half of their own support, then you cannot claim him/her on your taxes.


    The child must be a citizen of the United States or a United States resident alien of the United States by the end of the year. The child must have a tax identification number to file with your taxes, such as the child’s social security number.


    The child you are claiming must also have lived with you for at least one-half of the calendar year. Any time that the child spent away from home at a school, in a medical facility, a juvenile detention center, on a vacation or in the military is considered by the IRS to be time spent at home.

    Income Limit

    In order to take the full amount of the child tax credit, your income must also fall under a set limit. This limit is based on your modified adjusted gross income, and is $55,000 for those who are married filing separately, $75,000 for those filing single, as a widow, or head of household, and $110,000 for those who are married filing jointly. Once you reach this limit, your tax credit will be reduced by $50 for every $1,000 over the limit your modified adjust income level is.

    If the child meets all of these requirements, you will be able to claim him/her on your tax return.