Requirements For Anyone Claiming the Child Tax Credit

child tax credit

Not everyone gets the opportunity to take advantage of the Child Tax Credit offered by the Internal Revenue Service when it’s time to file your 2015 income taxes. For example, I have four kids and people love to tell me that I must really appreciate the tax break I get for each of them during tax time, but the truth is that we simply don’t meet the income requirements for this and that means we don’t qualify. There are actually 7 different requirements for this credit, and all tax filers claiming their child tax credit must meet all 7. If you don’t, you don’t get to take the credit.

Income Test

Essentially, you have to make less than $55,000 if you’re married filing separately, $75,000 if you’re single or filing as a qualifying widow or head of household, and you have to make less than $110,000 if you are a married couple filing jointly.

Age

No child 17 or older is eligible for this particular tax credit. What this means is your child has to be 16 or younger on December 31 of the year your taxes are being filed for (for example, your child could have turned 17 on January 1, 2016 and you can still claim him or her for the child tax credit for the 2015 tax year when you file in 2016).

Residency

Does this child live with you at least half the tax year? If so, good. If not, you cannot claim this child as your own to receive the Child Tax Credit from the IRS.

Citizenship

The child you are attempting to claim has to be a U.S. Citizen. If not, the child must be a U.S. National or a resident alien. None of the above means the child cannot be claimed.

Support

Your children cannot provide more than half their own support – nor can anyone not living in your household. If so, you cannot claim them for this credit.

Relationship

This is where things get a little bit tricky. This can be a child of yours, a stepchild, a foster child and an adopted child. Even if your adoption is not yet finalized but the child is in your care and has been legally placed in your home, you can claim him or her as your own. Additionally, you can claim any of your siblings, stepsiblings and/or nieces and nephews if they meet all the other requirements, too.

Dependent

This basically means that the child in question has lived with you at least half the year and you have provided at least half the care for this child throughout the year.

Photo by Getty Images

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