Your Child And Taxes: The Child Tax Credit

Do you have a dependent child who was under the age of 17 at the end of 2008? If so, you may qualify for the Child Tax Credit. Families who meet certain income requirements can qualify for up to $1000 per child in tax relief, which spells good news for working parents in this tough economic climate.

Although the child tax credit had been set to revert back to $700 per qualifying child in 2005, the Working Families Tax Relief Act, passed by Congress in 2004, allowed Congress to extend the deadline and keep the Child Tax Credit at $1,000 per child through 2010. If you meet the income qualifications for your tax bracket, even if you are not the parent of the qualifying child, you can claim the child as a dependent if he or she lived with you for more than half of 2008 and did not provide more than half of his or her own support.

The criteria for qualifying for the Child Tax Credit are:

  • Age: The child must have been younger than 17 at the end of the tax year.
  • Relationship: The child must be a son, daughter, adopted or eligible foster child, stepchild, brother, sister, stepbrother or stepsister, or a descendant by birth of any of these.
  • Support: The child must have not provided over half of his or her own support, and must have lived with you for more than half of the year (with few exceptions).
  • Income Qualification: If you are married filing jointly, your income must be below $110,000. If you are married filing separately, income must be below $55,000 per spouse. Single parents (or all others) must have income below $75,000.

If the amount of Child Tax Credit you qualify for is greater than the total income tax you owe, you may also qualify for an “Additional” Child Tax Credit and be able to claim some of the difference. The Additional Child Tax Credit may qualify you for a refund even if you do not owe any tax. However, the total amount of your tax credit for the Child Tax Credit and any Additional Child Tax Credit still can not exceed the maximum of $1,000 per child.