How To Get the Child Tax Credit

Father sitting at a table, drinking from a mug and looking at a laptop, with daughter sitting on his lap and son watching him.

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Key Takeaways

  • For tax year 2022, the Child Tax Credit (CTC) is worth less than it was in 2021, but it's still worth up to $2,000 per eligible child under the age of 17.
  • The credit amount phases out for incomes over $200,000 (or $400,000 for joint returns).
  • To qualify for the credit, complete IRS Schedule 8812 and attach it to your Form 1040 tax return.
  • The CTC is nonrefundable, but for those who qualify, the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) is refundable.

The Child Tax Credit (CTC) has been available to taxpayers since 1997 when it was first launched under the terms of the Taxpayer Relief Act. To claim the credit, your child must be under the age of 17 by the end of the tax year. The CTC is worth up to $2,000 per child and is phased on if your income exceeds $200,000 ($400,000 for joint filers).

What Is the Child Tax Credit?

The Child Tax Credit has undergone a few tweaks and changes over the years. It's a tax credit that helps reduce the amount you pay to the IRS when you have a tax bill.

From 2018 to 2020, the credit allowed you to deduct $2,000 for each qualifying child dependent under age 17. For tax year 2021, it was expanded even more, thanks to the American Rescue Plan (ARP). This made the credit worth up to $3,000 for children up to age 18, and up to $3,600 if your child was younger than age 6. For tax year 2021, eligible Americans with children were also able to receive half their credits in advance. Payments were sent out from July through December of 2021. Taxpayers were able to claim the balance of the tax credit when they filed their 2021 returns in 2022.

Now, for tax year 2022, the return you file in 2023, the child tax credit is back to the lower amount. For the 2022 tax year, you can get up to a maximum of $2,000 per child. It all depends on your income and your child's age—they must be younger than 17 by the end of the tax year. You may only qualify for a portion of the credit if your income exceeds $200,000 (or $400,000 if you're married and file jointly).

Who Is Eligible for the Credit?

Adults with children under the age of 17 may be eligible to claim this credit, depending on their income.

Rules for Child Dependents

Your child must have been no older than age 16 as of Dec. 31, 2022, in order to qualify for the credit. Eligible children must also have a valid Social Security number. 

They must be your biological child, adopted child, stepchild, foster child, sibling, or descendants of any of these individuals. They must live with you for more than half the year, and they can't provide more than half their own support.


A few exceptions to the qualifying rules for eligible children do exist. You can find them in IRS Schedule 8812, or consult with a tax professional if your child narrowly misses qualifying under these rules. 

Rules for Parents 

Parents are subject to their own qualifying rules, the most important applying to their incomes. 

Married taxpayers who file joint returns can claim the credit if their income was $400,000 or less in 2022. After that, the credit phases out. Single taxpayers can claim the credit if their income was $200,000 or less in 2022. After that threshold, the credit also phases out.

Parents must have Social Security numbers or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN). They must claim their qualifying children as dependents on their tax returns. They must have lived in the U.S. for more than half the tax year, or file a joint return with a spouse who did so. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you had to reside in your own home, but that you were present in the country and residing in someone’s home on a regular basis throughout this time. You and your children could even have resided in a shelter.

How To Get Your Child Tax Credit

To get the Child Tax Credit (CTC), you need to fill out Schedule 8812 and attach it to your Form 1040 tax return. The CTC reduces your tax bill so that you owe less money to the IRS.

The CTC is a nonrefundable tax credit. That means you do not get money back in the form of a tax refund if you claim it and reduce your tax bill to $0, with some of the credit left over. However, the Additional Child Tax Credit (ATCT) is refundable.

Additional Child Tax Credit (ATCT)

The Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) is up to $1,500 per child. Basically, after your tax bill is reduced to $0, and you already claimed the CTC, you can claim the ACTC up to that amount per eligible child and you'll receive it as a tax refund since the credit is refundable. To claim it, you must fill out Schedule 8812, and then if line 12 is more than line 14, you would claim it on line 28 of Form 1040.

What If You Don’t Normally File a Tax Return?

You may still be eligible to get the Child Tax Credit if you do not normally file a tax return, according to the IRS.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the requirements to claim the Child Tax Credit?

Your child must be a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or a U.S. permanent resident, and you must claim them as a dependent on your tax return. They must have a valid Social Security number (SSN), and you must provide it to the IRS when you file your tax return and claim the credit.

In addition, your qualifying child can't pay for more than half their own support needs during the tax year and in most cases, they must have lived with you for more than half the year.

How much do you get for claiming a child in 2022?

The Child Tax Credit for 2022 is worth up to $2,000 per child under the age of 17. Parents filing as single qualify for the full amount if their adjusted gross income is less than $200,000. Married taxpayers filing jointly get the whole credit if their income is less than $400,000. After those thresholds, the credit is phased out.

Updated by Hilarey Gould
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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "Policy Basics: The Child Tax Credit."

  2. IRS. "2021 Child Tax Credit and Advance Child Tax Credit Payments — Topic C: Calculation of the 2021 Child Tax Credit."

  3. IRS. "Child Tax Credit."

  4. IRS. "What You Need to Know about CTC, ACTC and ODC."

  5. IRS. "Schedule 8812."

  6. IRS. "Form 1040."

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