How to qualify for child tax credit in the US?

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Note: This article is valid for your taxes for 2017, i.e., filed under the April 2018 deadline. You can file tax online yourself or have your CPA do it for you. We recommend you avail services of an expert.

For all the parents out here, first, our sympathies are with you and secondly, so are those of the IRS. While ours come with no strings attached, IRS’ have their quirks.


Child Tax Credit is the deduction or refund that you can get on your net tax payable for the financial year which you are paying taxes for, simply because you have a child who you need to support financially.

Interesting? Yeah, we thought so.

If you are looking forward to claiming child tax credit, first you need to make sure that your child is eligible. The seven main factors that you would need to consider: age, relationship, support, dependent status, citizenship, length of residency, and family income.

We’ll discuss each of these factors and the conditions that you’d need to satisfy to qualify for Child Tax Credit.

1. Age

The child should be 16 years old or younger at the end of the year for which you are filing the tax.

2. Relationship

You are allowed to claim child tax credit for your biological children, step-children, or foster children put in your care by the court or by a competent authority, your brother, sister, step-brother, step-sister, and their descendants like your nieces, nephews and the grand-children subject to them meeting the other criteria.

3. Support

To get through this criteria, the child couldn’t have been able to provide more than half of his financial support. In other words, he/she should not have been able to satisfy more than half of his/her financial requirements.

4. Dependent Status

To get child support claim, you must claim the child as a ‘dependent’. To be this, the child/children should qualify all of the following:

  • The said person must be ‘your’ child. (as mentioned under sub-heading relationship)
  • The said person should be under the age 19 or under the age 24 and be a full-time student for at least 6 months a year. (to be declared a dependent only. To claim child-tax credit for your child/children, the person(s) should be both below 16 and dependent on you.)
  • The said person could be permanently disabled, irrespective of age.
  • The said person has lived with you for at least half of the financial year.
  • The said person should not have provided for more than half of his financial support.


5. Citizenship

The said child must be a US citizen, US national, or US resident alien.

6. Length of residency

The said child must have lived with you for at least half of the year for which you are filing tax.

However, children who were born or died at any point in the financial year, will be considered as having lived with you for the complete year.

Temporary absences like school, vacation, business, medical care, time spent in a juvenile facility or in the military, is considered as the time spent with you, irrespective of whether it was you or the child away under these pretexts.

For more information about these rules you could refer to Form 1040, lines 51 and 6c, or Form 1040A, lines 33 and 6c.

You could also talk to our tax experts about how to deduce the length of residency.

7. Family Income

You get a lower amount as child tax credit if your family income is above a certain number. In the case of US tax system, this number varies on the basis of case:

  • $55,000 for married couples who are filing their tax return separately.
  • $75,000 for single, qualified widow or widower or head of household filers
  • $110,000 for married couples who are filing taxes jointly

For each $1,000 above the set threshold, your child tax credit is reduced by $50.

It can be confusing for a person to file their taxes on their own, applying for child tax credit adds a whole new level of complexity to this process. To top it all, not everyone is adept at filing tax online!

We are MyTaxFiler, a firm of tax consultants who are there for just one job: making tax filing a breeze for you!

Hence, to file your taxes in time and without any fuss, contact MyTaxFiler today. You can email us at or if you are a busy man, give us a call at (888)-482-0279 for a free 30-minute consultation on how to file the tax returns! Our expert tax consultants will do all the work for you while you sit back and enjoy the advent of spring!

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