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A Comprehensive Guide to Child Tax Credit: Eligibility and Claiming Process

A Comprehensive Guide to Child Tax Credit Eligibility and Claiming Process
The United States' White House and Treasury Department with Code for America launched a new website for applying for the enlarged child tax credit. (Photo: Shutterstock)

With the American Rescue Plan, the age at which a child could get a tax refund went from 16 to 17. For the child tax credit year 2022, this is no longer true.

A Comprehensive Guide to Child Tax Credit Eligibility and Claiming Process

This month, millions of American families are getting expanded child tax credits of up to $300 per child via direct deposit. (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The United States is firmly in the middle of tax season. This means that many people are looking for answers to questions they have about filing. Parents have a lot of questions about the child tax credit, which gives a tax break to families with qualifying children.

Under the American Rescue Plan, children who were 17 years old could get the child tax credit in 2021. Recent internet searches show that many people want to know if that age still applies for the tax year 2022.

For the 2021 tax year only, the American Rescue Plan raised the age cap for getting the child tax credit from 16 to 17. This means parents can’t get the child tax credit for children who turn 17 in 2022 since the age limit has returned to 16 or younger.

“The American Rescue Plan Act changed the rules for the child tax credit for the tax year 2021. But that was only a one-year rule. “The rules that were in place last year won’t be in place for the tax year 2022,” a representative from H&R Block said.

Jackson Hewitt’s top tax information officer, Mark Steber, agrees. 

“In 2022, a parent or guardian won’t be able to get the child tax credit for a child who is 17 or 18,” Steber said.

A Comprehensive Guide to Child Tax Credit Eligibility and Claiming Process

The enhanced child tax refund alleviates poverty. (Photo: Getty Images)

Both the IRS and Steber say there are seven tests to see if your family qualified for the child tax credit in 2022:

  • Age: At the end of 2022, your child must have been under 17 years old.
  • Relationship: The child you want to claim must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a relative of any of these people. (e.g., a grandchild, niece, or nephew).
  • Dependent status: You must be able to claim the child as one of your dependents. The child also can only file a joint tax return if it’s to get a refund on taxes taken from their paycheck or taxes paid in advance.
  • Residency: The child you want to claim must have lived with you for at least half the year. (there are some exceptions to this rule).
  • Financial support: The child can’t pay for more than half of their own needs. If you get Form 8332 from the parent who has custody of the child, you and the other parent must pay more than half of the child’s support.
  • Citizenship: According to the IRS, your child must be a “U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien” and have a valid Social Security number.
  • Income: If they file jointly, most parents or caregivers who claim the credit can’t have an adjusted gross income of more than $200,000 or $400,000. Depending on how much your income is higher than that level, the credit goes down until it is gone.

You can get the child tax credit by filling out Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and adding a completed Schedule 8812, Credits for Qualifying Children and Other Dependents. You can also go to the website of the IRS to see if you apply.

Parents can’t get the child tax credit for their 17-year-old child, but another opportunity may exist.

The credit for other dependents is for a cousin who needs care and is eligible. Other factors, like how long the child stayed with the parent and how much money the child made, also affect whether a parent can claim a 17-year-old child for the other dependents’ credit. On the IRS page, you can find out more.


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