If you haven’t already filed your taxes, you’re certainly not alone. In the past two days alone, I’ve had many of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers lament about how they put off their taxes this year. Now, many busy parents are scrambling to get all the information they need. Throughout all the typical tax exemptions that you may be allowed this year, the child tax credit might be new for you if you had a baby in 2010. It may also apply to each child you have.
In certain cases, the child tax credit may be worth as much as $1,000 per qualifying child. Even if your baby was born on the last day of 2010, you may still be eligible for this credit as long as you meet the proper guidelines.
Here is a breakdown of what parents need to know about this tax credit as outlined by the IRS:
Amount - With the Child Tax Credit, you may be able to reduce your federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child under the age of 17.
Age – To qualify, a child must have been under age 17 – age 16 or younger – at the end of 2010.
Relationship - 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. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
Support - In order to claim a child for this credit, the child must not have provided more than half of their own support.
Dependent – You must claim the child as a dependent on your federal tax return.
Citizenship – To meet the citizenship test, the child must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien.
Residence – The child must have lived with you for more than half of 2010. There are some exceptions to the residence test, which can be found in IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.
Limitations – The credit is limited if your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount. The amount at which this phase-out begins varies depending on your filing status. For married taxpayers filing a joint return, the phase-out begins at $110,000. For married taxpayers filing a separate return, it begins at $55,000. For all other taxpayers, the phase-out begins at $75,000.
Additional Child Tax Credit - If the amount of your Child Tax Credit is greater than the amount of income tax you owe, you may be able to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit.
While it is best to speak with an accountant who can personally find out if you qualify, there are also many links and helpful information at the IRS website. But make sure to consider every change in your family situation. Our own Madeline covered how one couple, David and Thelma Ward received a $54,000 tax refund this year due to a newly changed adoption tax credit.
And if you find yourself out of time and still unprepared, this year due to federal holidays, you have until April 18th to file an extension.