Child Tax Credit

Child Tax Credit

What is the Child Tax Credit?

The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is a federal nonrefundable tax credit available to taxpayers who have children and meet certain requirements. To be eligible, your child must be under 17 years old, have a valid Social Security Number, and be listed as a dependent on your tax return. The credit can reduce your tax amount on a dollar-for-dollar basis, which could eliminate your tax bill altogether.

For the year 2023 (when you file your taxes in 2024), the CTC is worth $2,000 for each qualifying child if your modified adjusted gross income is $400,000 or below (married filing jointly) or $200,000 or below (all other filers). If you qualify, you can receive a refundable portion, known as the additional child tax credit, which is worth up to $1,600 per child. Some families can also receive monthly payments instead of waiting until tax time.

The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024–a nonpartisan proposal introduced on January 16, 2024–plans to boost the maximum refundable amount per child in the upcoming tax years. The suggested increments are $1,800 for the 2023 tax year, $1,900 for the 2024 tax year, and $2,000 for the 2025 tax year.

What is the Additional Child Tax Credit?

The additional child tax credit (ACTC) is the refundable part of the child tax credit. If you meet the requirements for the CTC but cannot take full advantage because you either do not owe taxes or owe less than the credit amount, you might still be eligible for a partial refund by applying for the additional child tax credit.

To claim the ACTC, you need to meet the same income and dependent criteria as the CTC, and there are also additional rules to consider:

  • You must have earned income of at least $2,500 or have three or more qualifying dependents.
  • You or your partner (if married filing jointly) cannot exclude foreign-earned income from your taxes by filing Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ.

Frequently Asked QuestionFrequently Asked Questions

My child doesn’t have a Social Security Number (SSN). Do I qualify for the Child Tax Credit?
Unfortunately, no. Your child has to have a SSN for you to qualify for the Child Tax Credit. However, you may qualify for California’s Young Child Tax Credit

My child has a SSN but I have a Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), do I still qualify for the Child Tax Credit?
Yes! As long as your child has a SSN, you may qualify for the Child Tax Credit.

What if I don’t owe taxes or don’t file my taxes?
Taxpayers can benefit from the credit even if they don’t have earned income or don’t owe any income taxes. To claim the Child Tax Credit, you must file your taxes.

Can I receive the Child Tax Credit early?
Yes! The Child Tax Credit can be paid in advance, and you can choose to receive monthly payments. To do this, you may need to opt-in for advance payments on the IRS webpage.

When can I expect my Child Tax Credit refund?
For early filers: The IRS cannot send out refunds for returns claiming the additional child tax credit until mid-February, as per the law. If you go for direct deposit, file online, and make sure your return is error-free, the IRS says you should see your refund in your account by February 27, 2024.

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