What is the Child Tax Credit?

Common questions and answers about the child tax credit

Updated over a week ago

This article was updated for Tax Year 2023, last edited on December 20th, 2023.

The Child Tax Credit helps families with qualifying children get a tax break in the form of a tax credit. Credits are subtracted directly from the taxes you owe, so they can be a really valuable tax break.

How do I claim the Child Tax Credit?

You may be able to claim the Child Tax Credit if your dependent is eligible. To be eligible, all of these things will need to be true about your dependent:

  • They did not provide more than half of their own support financially.

  • They must be younger than 17 years old on December 31 of this past tax year.

  • Dependent is listed as a dependent on your (the taxpayer’s) tax return.

  • Dependent can be your son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or a descendant of one of these (this includes a grandchild, niece or nephew).

  • Dependent has lived with you (the taxpayer) for more than half the year.

  • Filing as single or married filing separately

    • Or only filing married filing jointly to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid

  • They are a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. resident alien.

In addition to the qualifications listed above, in order to get the full Child Tax Credit, your annual income must not be more than $200,000 ($400,000 in case of a joint return). If your income is higher than these amounts, you may be eligible for a partial credit.

How much is the Child Tax Credit in 2023?

Per the IRS, many of the child tax credit enhancements from the 2021 tax year have expired. This means the maximum amount for the credit is $2,000 in 2023 for each qualifying child compared to $3,000 in 2021.

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