Tax credit for children and qualifying dependents: How much are you eligible for?

Beginning in 2018, the child tax credit increases to $2,000 per qualifying dependent child age 16 or younger at the end of the calendar year. This is a huge benefit because a credit reduces your tax bill dollar-for-dollar! Also, up to $1,400 of the credit could create a refund if you have at least $2,500 of earned income. Once you earn more than $200,000 ($400,000 if married filing jointly), the credit decreases.

A qualifying child must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or resident alien. The child must be your son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, grandchild, niece, nephew, adopted child or foster child. Also, don’t forget that you must provide at least half of the child’s support during the year and the child generally must have lived with you for at least half of the year. The child cannot file a joint return (or file it only to claim a refund) and you must provide a Social Security number for the child on your tax return.

New this year is a $500 nonrefundable credit, also known as the family credit, for qualifying non-child dependents and qualifying children aged 17, 18, or under 24 if a full-time student. A non-child dependent must be a close relative or live with you. Their taxable income must be less than $4,150 for the year, and you must provide over half of their support. The non-child dependent also must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. resident; however, the Social Security requirement does not apply, though you’ll still need a taxpayer identification number.