Who Is Eligible for the Child Tax Credit?

Income taxes reduce the amount of money you take home each month, but the Internal Revenue Service offers several tax breaks to U.S. workers when they file tax returns. The Child Tax Credit is a tax refund that reduces the amount a person owes by $1,000 per eligible child. The child and taxpayer must meet specific criteria for the tax credit to apply.


The relationship between a taxpayer and child determines whether the child is eligible for the tax credit. You do not have to be the parent of a child to claim the tax credit. "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," according to the IRS. Adopted children are considered your children and you must claim the child as a dependent on your tax return for the credit to apply.

Other Qualifications

A child must meet several other qualifications to be eligible for the Child Tax Credit. The IRS states that for 2009, "a child must have been under age 17 – age 16 or younger – at the end of 2009." The child must have been a U.S. citizen, national or resident alien, lived with you for more than half the year and you must have provided at least half of the support for the child.

Income Limits

The Child Care Tax credit is meant to provide support to middle- and low-income working parents and is phased out for caregivers who earn more than a certain minimum income level. Married couples who earn more than $110,000 and single filers who make more than $75,000 will receive smaller credits, according to Bankrate. For a married taxpayer filing a separate return, the credit begins to phase out for income over $55,000.


The Child Care Tax credit was set to expire at the end of 2010, but legislation passed by congress in December 2010 extended the tax credit. The new bill will extend the $1,000 the tax credit and make more taxpayers eligible to receive tax refunds even if they have no income tax liability, according to CNN.