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IRS.gov Website
Publication 17
taxmap/pub17/p17-165.htm#en_us_publink10008397

Child Tax Credit (CTC)(p214)

rule
The CTC is for individuals who claim a child as a dependent if the child meets additional conditions (described later).
Note.This credit is different from and in addition to the credit for child and dependent care expenses and the earned income credit that you may also be eligible to claim.
The maximum amount you can claim for the credit is $2,000 for each child who qualifies you for the CTC. But, see Limits on the CTC and ODC, later.
For more information about claiming the CTC, see Claiming the CTC and ODC, later.
taxmap/pub17/p17-165.htm#en_us_publink10008398

Qualifying Child for the CTC(p214)

rule
A child qualifies you for the CTC if the child meets all of the following conditions.
  1. The child is your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew).
  2. The child was under age 17 at the end of 2018.
  3. The child did not provide over half of his or her own support for 2018.
  4. The child lived with you for more than half of 2018 (see Exceptions to time lived with you, later).
  5. The child is claimed as a dependent on your return. See chapter 3 for more information about claiming someone as a dependent.
  6. The child does not file a joint return for the year (or files it only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid).
  7. The child was a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien. For more information, see Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens. If the child was adopted, see Adopted child, later.
taxmap/pub17/p17-165.htm#en_us_publink10008404

Example 1.(p214)

Your son turned 17 on December 30, 2018. He is a citizen of the United States and you claimed him as a dependent on your return. You cannot use him to claim the CTC because he was not under age 17 at the end of 2018.
taxmap/pub17/p17-165.htm#en_us_publink10008405

Example 2.(p214)

Your daughter turned 8 years old in 2018. She is not a citizen of the United States, has an ITIN, and lived in Mexico all of 2018. She is not a qualifying child for the CTC because she was not a U.S. citizen or national or a resident of the United States for 2018.
Deposit
If your child is age 17 or older at the end of 2018, see Credit for Other Dependents (ODC), later.
taxmap/pub17/p17-165.htm#en_us_publink10008406

Adopted child.(p214)

rule
An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. national and your adopted child lived with you all year as a member of your household in 2018, that child meets condition 7, earlier, to be a qualifying child for the child tax credit.
taxmap/pub17/p17-165.htm#en_us_publink10008407

Exceptions to time lived with you. (p214)

rule
A child is considered to have lived with you for more than half of 2018 if the child was born or died in 2018 and your home was this child's home for more than half the time he or she was alive. Temporary absences by you or the child for special circumstances, such as school, vacation, business, medical care, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility, count as time the child lived with you.
There also are exceptions for kidnapped children and children of divorced or separated parents. For details, see Residency Test in chapter 3.
taxmap/pub17/p17-165.htm#en_us_publink10008409

Qualifying child of more than one person.(p214)

rule
A special rule applies if your qualifying child is the qualifying child of more than one person. For details, see Qualifying Child of More Than One Person in chapter 3.
taxmap/pub17/p17-165.htm#en_us_publink10008508

Required SSN(p214)

rule
In addition to being a qualifying child for the CTC (defined earlier), your child must have the required SSN. The required SSN is one that is valid for employment and that is issued by the Social Security Administration before the due date of your 2018 return (including extensions). If your qualifying child does not have the required SSN, you cannot use the qualifying child to claim the CTC (or ACTC) on either your original or amended 2018 tax return.
Deposit
If your qualifying child does not have the required SSN, see Credit for Other Dependents (ODC), later.
If your child was a U.S. citizen when the child received the SSN, the SSN is valid for employment. If "Not Valid for Employment" is printed on your child’s social security card and your child’s immigration status has changed so that your child is now a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, ask the SSA for a new social security card without the legend. However, if "Valid for Work Only With DHS Authorization" is printed on your child’s social security card, your child has the required SSN only as long as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authorization is valid.
If your child does not have the required SSN, you cannot use the child to claim the CTC (or ACTC) on either your original or amended 2018 tax return.