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How to Apply for the Child Tax Credit

The Credit

1.

Calculate your adjusted gross income and compare it to the threshold for your filing status. The thresholds are $110,000 for married filing jointly; $75,000 for single, qualified widow(er) or head of household; and $55,000 for married filing separately.

2.

If your income is over the threshold for your filing status, go to the next section.

3.

Multiply the number of qualifying children by $500 to get a credit amount.

4.

Enter the smaller number of your credit amount or your income tax on the child tax credit line of the 1040 or 1040A.

Qualifying Children

1.

Determine how many children under 17 are your dependents.

2.

Determine how many of those are your own children, stepchildren, grandchildren or foster children.

3.

Determine how many of those are U.S. citizens or residents. This is your number of qualifying children.

Credit for Higher Incomes

1.

Calculate the amount by which your adjusted gross income is above the threshold for your filing status. The thresholds are $110,000 for married filing jointly; $75,000 for single, qualified widow(er) and head of household; and $55,000 for married filing separately.

2.

After calculating the difference between your income and your threshold, divide that amount by 1,000. Round up to the highest whole number.

3.

Multiply this number by $50. This is the amount of child tax credit you cannot take.

4.

Multiply the number of your qualifying children by $500 and subtract from that the amount of child tax credit you cannot take. This is your credit amount.

5.

Compare your credit amount to your income tax, and enter the smaller number on the child tax credit line of the 1040.

Tips and Warnings

  • Grandchildren include great-grandchildren, their children and so on.
  • Any child you care for all year as your own can be a foster child.
  • The amount of your child tax credit cannot be more than your income tax.


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