The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is a federal tax benefit for low and moderate-income working people raising children. The CTC is worth up to $2,000 for each qualifying child younger than 17. More than 13 million people, including 6.7 million children, benefit from the CTC and the credit lifts about 3 million people, including nearly 2 million children, out of poverty each year.

Those eligible for the CTC subtract the credit amount from their owed federal income taxes. The CTC also includes a “refundable” component, called the Additional Child Tax Credit, which may exceed the amount of federal income tax a worker owes and help offset other taxes, such as sales or payroll. Certain criteria are used to determine whether or not a child can be considered “qualified” for purposes of claiming the CTC: age, relationship to the claimant, support, dependency, citizenship and residence.

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CTC Policy Basics

Enacted in 1997 and expanded with bipartisan support since 2001, the Child Tax Credit (CTC) helps working families offset the cost of raising children. It is worth up to $2,000 per eligible child (under age 17 at the end of the tax year). The CTC also includes a $500 non-refundable credit for families with qualifying non-child dependents.

Filing for the CTC

You must file a federal tax return to claim the CTC. Learn how to file for the credit below.