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Publication 972

Child Tax Credit


Future Developments(p1)

For the latest information about developments related to Publication 972, such as legislation enacted after it was published, go to


Photographs of missing children.(p1)
The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.


The purpose of this publication is:
  1. To figure the child tax credit you claim on Form 1040, line 51; Form 1040A, line 33; or Form 1040NR, line 48; and
  2. To figure the amount of earned income you enter on line 4a of Schedule 8812 (Form 1040A or 1040), Child Tax Credit.
This publication is intended primarily for individuals sent here by the instructions to Forms 1040, 1040A, or 1040NR, or Schedule 8812. Even if you were not sent here by the instructions to one of the forms or the schedule, you can still choose to use this publication to figure your credit. However, most individuals can use a simpler worksheet in their tax form instructions.

If you were sent here from your Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040NR instructions.(p1)

Complete the Child Tax Credit Worksheet, later in this publication.

If you were sent here from your Schedule 8812 instructions.(p1)

Complete the 1040 and 1040NR Filers — Earned Income Worksheet, later in this publication.

If you have not read your Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040NR instructions.(p1)

Read the explanation of who must use this publication next. If you find that you are not required to use this publication to figure your child tax credit, you can use the simpler worksheet in the Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040NR instructions to figure your credit.

Who must use this publication.(p1)

If you answer "Yes" to either of the following questions, you must use this publication to figure your child tax credit.
  1. Are you excluding income from Puerto Rico or filing any of the following forms?
    1. Form 2555 or 2555-EZ (relating to foreign earned income).
    2. Form 4563 (exclusion of income for residents of American Samoa).
  2. Are you claiming any of the following credits?
    1. Mortgage interest credit, Form 8396.
    2. Adoption credit, Form 8839.
    3. Residential energy efficient property credit, Form 5695, Part I.
    4. District of Columbia first-time homebuyer credit, Form 8859.

Comments and suggestions. (p2)

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Tax Forms and Publications Division
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224

We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.
You can send your comments from Click on "More Information" and then on "Comment on Tax Forms and Publications."
Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.
Ordering forms and publications.(p2)
Visit to download forms and publications, call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676), or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

Internal Revenue Service
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613

Tax questions.(p2)
If you have a tax question, check the information available on or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.

Child Tax Credit(p2)

This credit is for people who have a qualifying child as defined later. It is in addition to the credit for child and dependent care expenses (on Form 1040, line 48; Form 1040A, line 29; or Form 1040NR, line 46) and the earned income credit (on Form 1040, line 64a; or Form 1040A, line 38a).
The maximum amount you can claim for the credit is $1,000 for each qualifying child.

Qualifying Child(p2)

A qualifying child for purposes of the child tax credit is a child who:
  1. Is your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew),
  2. Was under age 17 at the end of 2013,
  3. Did not provide over half of his or her own support for 2013,
  4. Lived with you for more than half of 2013 (see Exceptions to time lived with you, later),
  5. Is claimed as a dependent on your return,
  6. Does not file a joint return for the year (or files it only as a claim for refund), and
  7. Was a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or a U.S. resident alien. For more information, see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens. If the child was adopted, see Adopted child, later.
For each qualifying child, you must either check the box on Form 1040 or Form 1040A, line 6c, column (4); or Form 1040NR, line 7c, column (4).


Your 10-year-old nephew lives in Mexico and qualifies as your dependent. Because he is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien, he is not a qualifying child for the child tax credit.

Filers who have certain child dependents with an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). (p2)

If you are claiming a child tax credit or additional child tax credit for a child identified on your tax return with an ITIN, you must complete Part I of Schedule 8812 (Form 1040A or 1040).
Although a child may be your dependent, you may only claim a child tax credit or additional child tax credit for a dependent who is a citizen, national, or resident of the United States. To be treated as a resident of the United States, a child generally will need to meet the requirements of the substantial presence test. For more information about the substantial presence test, see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

Adopted child.(p2)

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 2013, that child meets condition (7) above to be a qualifying child for the child tax credit.

Exceptions to time lived with you.(p2)

A child is considered to have lived with you for more than half of 2013 if the child was born or died in 2013 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 are also exceptions for kidnapped children and children of divorced or separated parents. For details, see the instructions for line 6c in either the Form 1040 or Form 1040A instructions.

Qualifying child of more than one person.(p3)

A special rule applies if your qualifying child is the qualifying child of more than one person. For details, see the instructions for line 6c in either the Form 1040 or Form 1040A instructions.

Limits on the Credit(p3)

You must reduce your child tax credit if either (1) or (2) applies.
  1. The amount on Form 1040, line 46; Form 1040A, line 28; or Form 1040NR, line 44, is less than the credit. If this amount is zero, you cannot take this credit because there is no tax to reduce. But you may be able to take the additional child tax credit. See Additional Child Tax Credit, later.
  2. Your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is more than the amount shown below for your filing status.
    1. Married filing jointly – $110,000.
    2. Single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) – $75,000.
    3. Married filing separately – $55,000.

Modified AGI.(p3)

For purposes of the child tax credit, your modified AGI is your AGI plus the following amounts that may apply to you.
If you do not have any of the above, your modified AGI is the same as your AGI.
Your AGI is the amount on Form 1040, line 38; Form 1040A, line 22; or Form 1040NR, line 37.

Claiming the Credit(p3)

To claim the child tax credit, you must file Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040NR. You cannot claim the child tax credit on Form 1040EZ or Form 1040NR-EZ. You must provide the name and identification number (usually a social security number) on your tax return for each qualifying child.