What is the IRS Form 8812?
If you have children and a low tax bill, you may need IRS Form 8812 to claim all of your Child Tax Credit.
• The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is worth up to $2,000 per qualifying child (tax year 2023).
• If you owe less tax than the total of your CTC, you can use Schedule 8812 to claim up to $1,600 as a refundable credit through the Additional Child Tax Credit.
• To qualify for the Child Tax Credit, the child can be your son, daughter, stepchild, blood or step sibling, foster child, or the descendants of any of the above and meet other requirements.
• You have to have earned income to qualify for the Child Tax Credit. Unemployment benefits and taxable income you earn from investing do not count as earned income.
You may have heard about a possible change to the Child Tax Credit, but don’t worry. TurboTax has you covered. We are up to date with the latest tax laws so you can file your taxes with confidence and accurately claim the Child Tax Credit, if you are eligible. There is no need to delay. File now to get your max refund as soon as possible.
If lawmakers expand the Child Tax Credit, the IRS has stated that they will automatically adjust your return and notify you of the update, including any additional refund. No extra steps are required on your part.
Did you know that you may be able to use Form 8812 to receive the Child Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit — even if you don't owe any federal income taxes? In 2022, if the total credit amount for all of your qualifying children exceeds the amount of tax you owe for the year, the IRS requires you to prepare Schedule 8812 to claim this amount. For 2021 only, the schedule is used to claim the dependent credits and determine if you have to pay back any excess advanced child tax credits you received in 2021. Let's take a look at how to prepare and file this form.
Changes to the Additional Child Tax Credit
For tax years prior to 2018, federal tax law allowed you to claim a Child Tax Credit of up to $1,000 for each qualifying child you claimed as a dependent on your tax return. Beginning in 2018, the Child Tax Credit doubled to $2,000 per qualifying child, and through the Additional Child Tax Credit, you can claim up to $1,600 for 2023.
Qualifying children requirement
Before you can claim the Additional Child Tax Credit on Form 8812, you'll need to evaluate whether your dependents meet all qualifying child requirements of the original Child Tax Credit. The child can be your:
- Blood or step sibling
- Foster child or the descendants of any of the above (such as a niece or grandchild)
The child has to be younger than 17 at the end of the tax year and cannot provide more than half of their own financial support. Finally, each child you claim a credit for has to have have lived with you for more than half of the tax year. However, even if the child meets all of those requirements, you can't claim the credit unless you claim them as a dependent on your tax return; your mere eligibility to claim the child is insufficient.
For 2021 only - stimulus impact on the Child Tax Credit for 2021
Child Tax Credit Changes
The American Rescue Plan raised the maximum Child Tax Credit in 2021 to $3,600 for qualifying children under the age of 6 and to $3,000 per child for qualifying children ages 6 through 17. Before 2021, the credit was worth up to $2,000 per eligible child, and 17 year-olds were not eligible for the credit.
The Child Tax Credit changes for 2021 include lower income limits than the original Child Tax Credit. Families that do not qualify for the credit using these income limits are still eligible for the $2,000 per-child credit using the original Child Tax Credit income and phase-out amounts.
In addition, the entire credit is fully refundable for 2021. This means that eligible families can get it, even if they owe no federal income tax and completing IRS Form 8812 will not be required for 2021.
New, Temporary Advance Child Tax Credit Payments
The Child Tax Credit has been expanded by the American Rescue Plan Act, that was enacted in March of 2021. Part of this expansion is to advance the 2021 tax credit to families by sending them direct payments during the last half of 2021 rather than having them wait until they prepare their 2021 taxes in 2022. Most families do not need to do anything to get their advance payment. Normally, the IRS will calculate the payment amount based on your 2020 tax return. Eligible families should receive advance payments, either by direct deposit or check.
The amount that you receive will be reconciled to the amount that you are eligible for when you prepare your 2021 tax return. Most families will receive about one-half of their tax credit through the advance payments. If you receive too little, you will be due an additional amount on your tax return. In the unlikely event that you receive too much, you might have to pay the excess back, depending on your income level.
For updates and more information, please visit our 2021 Child Tax Credit blog post.
TurboTax Tip: If you claim the Child Tax Credit, Credit for Other Dependents, or the Additional Child Tax Credit in error, you might not be able to claim any of those credits for two years. You might also have to pay penalties for erroneous claims.
Exceptions to the qualifying child requirement
The IRS provides some exceptions to the requirement that the child lives with you for more than half of the tax year. This includes any child that was born but then passed away within the same tax year, as long as your home was where the child had lived.
The IRS also treats your child as living with you when they're away at school or in a juvenile detention facility, or when you're away on business, receiving medical treatment, or on active duty in the military. A noncustodial parent may also claim the credit if the custodial parent agrees not to claim the credit or claim the child as a dependent.
If you meet all other requirements but the amount of tax you owe at the end of the year is either zero or an amount that's less than the credit, you can't claim the full Child Tax Credit of $2,000. However, you may be eligible for the reduced Additional Child Tax Credit by completing Schedule 8812 with your tax return.
For most taxpayers, the credit may be reduced if you have adjusted gross income that's higher than the threshold that applies to your filing status. For example, if you file as single, head of household, married filing separately, or qualifying widow(er) taxpayer for the 2023 tax year and have more than $200,000 in adjusted gross income ($400,000 for joint filers), the credit reduces as the amount exceeding the limit increases.
You have to have earned income
When you prepare Schedule 8812 and calculate the Child Tax Credit you're eligible for, you need to calculate the amount of gross income that you earn. This amount will be entered on line 6a. Your earned income includes income you receive from work or by actively engaging in a business. It doesn't include most of the taxable income you earn from investing, such as the interest from a savings account or the profit you earn from trading stocks during the year. Unemployment benefits do not count as earned income, either.
How to file Form 8812
You will first need to complete the form using the Schedule 8812 instructions and then enter the results on your Form 1040. You'll need to include the completed schedule with you tax return.
You'll use Form 8812 to calculate your Additional Child Tax Credit. For 2023, there are two parts to this form:
- Part I: should be completed by all filers to claim the basic Child Tax Credit. In Part I, you'll enter information from your Form 1040 and calculate your credit amount.
- Part II-A: complete to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit.
- Part II-B: complete if have three or more qualifying children or are a bona fide resident of Puerto Rico.
- Part II-C: total up your additional child tax credit and use this amount to claim the credit on your Form 1040.
If you claim the Child Tax Credit, Credit for Other Dependents, or the Additional Child Tax Credit in error, you might be barred from claiming any of those credits for two years if it’s determined that your error was due to reckless or intentional disregard of the CTC, ODC, or ACTC rules. If the IRS determines the error to be due to fraud, you won't be able to claim any of those credits for 10 years. You'll might also have to pay penalties for erroneous claims.
With TurboTax Live Full Service, a local expert matched to your unique situation will do your taxes for you start to finish. Or, get unlimited help and advice from tax experts while you do your taxes with TurboTax Live Assisted.
And if you want to file your own taxes, you can still feel confident you'll do them right with TurboTax as we guide you step by step. No matter which way you file, we guarantee 100% accuracy and your maximum refund.