Child Tax Credit

The Child Tax Credit (CTC) can highly benefit your family by allowing you to receive up to $2,000 per qualifying child depending on your income.

A qualifying child must:

  • be under the age of 17 at the end of the year
  • be a son, daughter, adopted child, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or descendent of any of those
  • be a U.S. citizen or resident alien
  • have a Social Security Number
  • have lived with you for over half of the year
  • be your claimed dependent for the tax year
  • have not provided over half of their own support during the year


The adjusted gross income (AGI) limits for taxpayers claiming the full Child Tax Credit are:

  • $400,000 for married filing jointly
  • $200,000 for all other filing statuses

There’s also a new nonrefundable credit for dependents who aren’t children called the Family Credit, which is $500 for each non-child dependent. Examples include an elderly or disabled parent who depends on you for care or a child 17 years old or older whose support you provide. The AGI limits for the Family Credit are the same as those above for the Child Tax Credit.


If the amount of your Child Tax Credit is greater than the amount of income tax that you owe, you may be able to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit. The Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) on Schedule 8812 is refundable to the extent of 15% of the taxpayer’s earned income in excess of $3,000. A refundable ACTC may be available to those who qualify and have not used up the available CTC amount. For military taxpayers, nontaxable combat pay may be added to your earned income which may result in a larger credit. 

Determine if you qualify for the Child Tax Credit by reviewing IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit or visiting the IRS website.

Refer to our Tax Glossary for a complete list of definitions and explanations of commonly used tax terms.

Updated for 2018 Tax Year