If you have a child under age 17, the federal Child Tax Credit for your federal income taxes may save you money at tax-time. Here are some facts the IRS wants you to know about the credit.
Age test. The child must have been under age 17 at the end of 2012.
Relationship test. The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister. A child may also be a descendant of any of these individuals, including your grandchild, niece or nephew. You would always treat an adopted child as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
Support test. The child must not have provided more than half of their own support for the year.
Dependent test. You must claim the child as a dependent on your federal tax return.
Joint return test. The child cannot file a joint return for the year, unless the only reason they are filing is to claim a refund.
Citizenship test. The child must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. resident alien.
Residence test. In most cases, the child must have lived with you for more than half of 2012.
IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit, can provide you with more details. View it online at IRS.gov or request it by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). You can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on the IRS website to check if you can claim the credit. The ITA is a resource that can help answer tax law questions.