Thursday, April 14, 2011

You've claimed the exemption. Don't forget the Child Tax Credit

Taxpayers with children can claim a credit of up to $1,000 for each qualifying child. The Child Tax Credit is claimed on line 51 of Form 1040 as a nonrefundable credit . Taxpayers can use this credit up to the amount that reduces their income tax to zero.

A qualifying child for this credit is someone who meets the qualifying criteria of all six tests:
  1. Age - must be under age 17 – age 16 or younger – at the end of the year.
  2. Relationship -  To claim a child for purposes of the Child Tax Credit, they must either be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister or a descendant of any of these individuals, which includes your grandchild, niece or nephew. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption
  3. Support -  In order to claim a child for this credit, the child must not have provided more than half of their own support
  4. Dependent - You must claim the child as a dependent on your federal tax return
  5. Citizenship - To meet the citizenship test, the child must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien and 
  6. Residence - The child must have lived with you for more than half of 2010. There are some exceptions to the residence test, which can be found in IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit
The amount of the Child Tax Credit is reduced if the tax on line 46 of Form 1040 is less than the credit and if your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount:
  • $110,000 - Married filing jointly
  • $75,000 - Single, head of household, or qualifying widower
  • $55,000 - Married filing separately
If the amount of your Child Tax Credit is greater than the amount of income tax you owe, you may be able to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit on line 65 of Form 1040 as a refundable credit.  If you have taxable earned income in excess of $3,000, the Additional Child Tax Credit is the lower of the amount you were unable to claim on line 51 or 15% of earned income in excess of $3,000. Complete Form 8812 to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit.

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