Child Tax Credit
Now, here's a real savings to the individual taxpayer with children. The child tax credit is a direct tax credit that is available to provide credit to taxpayers with income below certain established levels. The maximum credit per child is $1000 and is first applied to reduce or eliminate the taxpayer's tax liability. How does this tax credit work, and does everyone qualify? Well, let's start with the last question first. Yes, everyone with children qualifies, however the tax credit phases out when income is above $110,000 for married filing jointly, $75,000 for single, head of household, or widow, and $55,000 for married filing separately.
Now, to answer the "how does it work" aspect; the best approach might be to simply break down the requirements, and explain each fully. The child tax credit is the responsibility of the Internal Revenue Service, and the credit issuance is determined through the tax returns the individual tax payer completes each year. Taxpayers must complete either the 1040 or the 1040A and the IRS from 8812. The IRS will then determine eligibility, and process accordingly; the requirements and limits change each year, so the individual's eligibility may change each year.
In order to qualify, a family must have earned at least $10,500 in income, and that figure will rise each year, according to inflation. There must also be at least one qualifying child; in order to be classified as a "qualifying child" the child must meet the following requirements: under age 17, claimed on your return as a dependent, must pass the relationship test (son, daughter, stepchild, grandchild, brother, sister, etc.), be a US citizen, and have a social security number.
During its original year of inception, many families with qualifying children were mailed an advance tax credit of either $300 or $400 dollars; but they were also told this would reduce their end-f-year tax credit, dollar for dollar.
The method used for determining the tax credit is fairly simple, and is not difficult to calculate; however, any individual taxpayer should seek the advice and assistance of a tax professional when preparing their tax return.
The credits, as stated earlier are claimed when you complete a 1040 or 1040A and file your returns with the IRS. Although many individual taxpayers pay for a professional to complete their returns each year, there are qualified preparers that are available free of charge each year, through the IRS; either way, make sure that you communicate your qualifications for the child tax credit, and check your return to see that the credit was applied.
The child tax credit, along with the Hope and Lifetime Learning credits are a direct means to affect the individual taxpayer's tax liability and offer some level of tax relief. This is meant to help parents with the costs associated in raising children, and educating them. Most often, the child tax credit is a way to alleviate the existing tax liability for middle-income taxpayers. For the extremely low income families, there is often no tax due, so there is no allowable credit. Although it does not help the poverty level families as a form of tax refund or tax-free income, it does help to alleviate any tax liability. The Earned Income Credit is used by many poverty level or low-income families as a supplement to their earned income.