TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Family / What is the Additional Child Tax Credit?

What is the Additional Child Tax Credit?

Updated for Tax Year 2017


OVERVIEW

Understanding the Additional Child Tax Credit begins with the original Child Tax Credit. So what do you need to know? To start, the Child Tax Credit is up to a $1,000 credit that you can claim for each of your dependent children under the age of 17, subject to some limitations.


The Child Tax Credit and Its Limitations

Happy girl smiling and holding a baby

It’s important to know that the Child Tax Credit (CTC) is a tax reduction, not necessarily a refund. You might have three children and therefore think you’re entitled to a $3,000 credit, but you won’t gain the benefit unless your tax bill for the year is in excess of $3,000.

For example, if you owed $3,001 in taxes, the credit would be applied and you’d only owe the IRS $1. If you didn’t owe the IRS anything, the Child Tax Credit would have no effect at all because there's no tax to be reduced.

The Additional Child Tax Credit

The Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), however, can make at least a portion of your unused regular Child Tax Credit refundable if you’re eligible. Qualifications for the ACTC are the same as the requirements for the Child Tax Credit, except you also need to have at least $3,000 in earned income. TurboTax will automatically give you this credit if you're eligible.

The Additional Child Tax Credit is up to 15% of your taxable earned income over $3,000. For example, if you have three children:

  • If your earned income was $30,000, the additional credit would apply to $27,000 (the amount over the $3,000 threshold). 
  • 15% x $27,000 = $4,050
  • You would not receive the entire $4,050 because the CTC limit is $3,000, but you could still receive the full $3,000 refund—in other words, $1,000 for each of your children. 

On the other hand, if your earned income was $13,000, 15% of your taxable income over $3,000 would be $1,500 ($10,000 x .15). You could receive a refund of $1,500 as opposed to the full $3,000 credit because the refundable portion of your credit cannot exceed 15% of your taxable earned income that is above the $3,000 threshold.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act

The $3,000 threshold for calculating the Additional Child Tax Credit was originally slated to jump to $10,000 after 2017. In that case, you would only be eligible for 15% of your taxable earned income over $10,000, which could shrink your refund considerably.

But, under the terms of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, this threshold is now permanently set at $3,000 for all tax years beginning after December 31, 2015.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (PATH Act)

Another thing to consider is the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, which may cause a bit of a delay in receiving your ACTC refund depending on when you file your tax return.

The PATH Act dictates that the IRS cannot begin sending out refund checks to any taxpayer claiming either the ACTC or the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) until the 15th day of the second month after the end of the tax year. The rule went into effect on January 1, 2017, so if you file your tax return the first week of January, the IRS must hold your refund until February 15.

The rule applies to your entire refund, so you won’t get separate refund checks for the money that is and is not associated with the ACTC—the total amount of all refunds due to you will be delayed. This delay gives the IRS additional time to investigate issues of identity theft and fraud.

If you have questions about the status of your tax refund, you can first check using the IRS Where’s My Refund tool, as well as use TurboTax’s Where’s My Refund tracking guide.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Absolute Zero $0 federal (1040EZ/1040A) + $0 state offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 TurboTax Self-Employed return between 4/19/17 and 10/16/17 to receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 10/31/18. Activation by 12/31/17 required. Sign in to QuickBooks Self-Employed via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax; e-mail address used for activation and sign-in. Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not purchase TurboTax Self-Employed by 10/15/18, you will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 10/31/18 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself (TurboTax Self-Employed): Estimates based on deductible business expenses calculated at the self-employment tax income rate (15%) for tax year 2016. Actual results will vary based on your tax situation.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or on-screen); not included with Federal Free Edition (but available for purchase with the Plus bundle). SmartLook on-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. TurboTax experts provide general advice, customer service and product help; tax advice provided only by credentialed CPAs, enrolled agents and tax attorneys. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Return Access, My Docs and My Analysis & Advice features: Access to all tax-related documents we have on file for you is available until you file your 2017 tax return or through 10/31/2018, whichever comes first. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • #1 rated online tax prep provider: Based on independent comparison of the best online tax software by TopTenReviews.com March 13, 2017.
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.