Child Tax Credit

The Child Tax Credit is a federal tax credit designed to help families offset the cost of raising children. A family must have at least $3,000 in earned income to claim any portion of the credit. The credit is worth up to $1,000 per child under age 17 at the end of the tax year, and is subtracted from the amount of income taxes the family owes.

Since a portion of the credit is refundable, if the credit exceeds the amount of taxes the family owes, a percentage of the remaining credit is given back to the family in a refund check, and is officially called the Additional Child Tax Credit. A family can receive a refund worth 15 percent of earnings above $3,000, up to $1,000 per child.

A family can apply for the Child Tax Credit in addition to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC). The EITC and CDCTC do not affect a family’s eligibility for this credit.

How to Apply

To claim the credit, you can file Form 1040, Form 1040A or Form 1040NR (not 1040EZ or 1040NR-EZ). You must complete Form 2441 and attach it to your tax form.

For free tax help contact a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance location near you. For free legal assistance on federal tax matters contact the RILS’s Low Income Taxpayers Clinic.