TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Family / What is the IRS Form 8812?

What is the IRS Form 8812?

Updated for Tax Year 2014


If you have three or more children and a low tax bill, you may need IRS Form 8812 to claim all of your child tax credit. Here are the details.


Federal tax law allows you to claim a child tax credit of up to $1,000 for each qualifying child you claim as a dependent on your tax return. If the total credit amount for all qualifying children exceeds the amount of tax you owe for the year, the IRS requires you to prepare IRS Form 8812 to calculate an alternative refundable credit called the “additional child tax credit.”

Qualifying children requirement

Before you can claim the additional child tax credit on Form 8812, you must evaluate whether your dependents meet all qualifying child requirements of the original child tax credit. The child can be your son, daughter, blood or step sibling, stepchild, foster child or the descendants of any of them, such as a niece or grandchild.

The child must not reach the age of 17 at any time during the tax year or provide more than half of their own financial support. Finally, each child you claim a credit for must have lived with you for more than half of the tax year. However, even if the child satisfies all of those requirements, you may not claim the credit unless you actually claim an exemption for each of them on your tax return; the mere eligibility to claim the child is insufficient.

Exceptions to qualifying child requirement

The IRS provides some exceptions to the requirement that the child reside with you for more than half of the tax year. These include any child that was born and also died within the same tax year, as long as your home was the child’s home while they were alive.

In addition, the IRS treats your child as living with you during periods they are away at school or in a juvenile detention facility, when you are 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 an exemption for the child.

Income limitations

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 is less than the credit, you cannot claim the full child tax credit of $1,000; however, you may be eligible for the reduced additional child tax credit if you complete IRS Form 8812.

For most taxpayers, the credit is also subject to a reduction if you have adjusted gross income in excess of the threshold that applies to your filing status. For example, if you file as a single taxpayer for the 2014 tax year and have more than $75,000 in adjusted gross income ($110,000 for joint filers), the reduction increases as the amount exceeding $75,000 increases. However, this threshold is subject to change in future tax years.

You must have earned income

When you prepare IRS Form 8812 and calculate the additional child tax credit you are eligible for, you must calculate the amount of your gross income that you earn. Essentially, this includes income you receive from work or by actively engaging in a business. It does not 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.

Remember, when you prepare your taxes with TurboTax, we’ll determine whether you qualify for the additional child tax credit, and fill in all the right forms for you. All you need to do is answer simple questions about your income and dependents.

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

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.

* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or efile and are subject to change without notice. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal efile of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for efiling state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Mobile: Actual prices are determined at the time of print or efile and are subject to change without notice. Come back here before you file to confirm that the price has not changed, especially if it's been a while since you downloaded this app.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app features and content. TurboTax mobile app devices supported include Android 4.1 and above, iOS 8 on iPhone 4s and above, and iPad 2.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with efile and direct deposit; tax refund timeframes will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $34.99 Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support (phone or chat) vary by time of year. Phone support not included with Free Edition.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice service is available for your toughest tax questions; fees may apply. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Click here for full terms and conditions. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • Get up to 10% on top of your federal refund: Amazon.com Gift Card offer is for federal refunds only. Limits apply ($2000 per e-card, maximum $10,000 per customer). Offer available only for TurboTax Online (except Federal Free Edition) or CD/download versions sold and shipped, or downloaded directly from Intuit or Amazon. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards cannot be canceled, transferred for value or redeemed for cash.

    Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ('GCs') cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2013 TurboTax products.
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars: Average based on customer ratings on TurboTax.com for TurboTax Online and CD/download products tax year 2014, as of January 2015.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • TurboTax CD/Download priority phone support: Priority phone support for TurboTax CD/Download Premier and Home & Business is accessible exclusively via the TurboTax.com Help Center.
  • Benefit Assist: After you file, TurboTax automatically shows you a full list of government benefits you may qualify for, like Food Stamps or reduced phone & utilities. Plus, we help you apply, saving you time and making it easier than ever to get more money! Estimate based on calculation of Benefit Assist users from tax year 2013 and published reports of average benefit and savings amounts from federal and state programs. Actual amounts and qualifications based on your individual situation; some individuals will not qualify. Feature may not be available for all customers.
  • Simplified State Experience: New, simplified state tax preparation available for most filers.
  • Eligibility for $25 cash back for returning Deluxe customers: Customers who have completed their 2013 taxes in TurboTax Deluxe (CD or download), and have completed their 2014 taxes in either TurboTax Premier or TurboTax Home & Business (CD or download), and apply here before 11:59PM PDT April 20, 2015, are eligible for $25 back. 2014 TurboTax Advantage users are ineligible for this offer. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.
  • $0 Upgrade Offer: Valid for customers who filed their 2013 taxes with TurboTax Deluxe (CD or download), completed prior year data transfer this year, and encounter an upgrade to either 2014 TurboTax Premier or 2014 TurboTax Home & Business (CD or download). Valid February 6, 2015 through April 20, 2015. TurboTax Advantage users are ineligible for this offer. This offer may not be combined with our $25 cash back offer. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.