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If I qualify for the child tax credit, but Turbotax says I do not, how can I fix it?

3 Replies
Level 15

If I qualify for the child tax credit, but Turbotax says I do not, how can I fix it?

check if you qualify by using this link.  if you do, you have to go back through all the questions on the dependent's worksheet because you answered at least one incorrectly 

Level 15

If I qualify for the child tax credit, but Turbotax says I do not, how can I fix it?

TurboTax will tell you the reason, what dies it say?


For the child tax credit of $2,000 per child.

The child must have been no older than 16 at the end of 2020.

The amount of child tax credit you can receive is limited by your taxable income (1040 line 15)
If your taxable income is zero, then you are not eligible for any child tax credit.

However, if you do not qualify for the Child Tax Credit, and if your earned income is greater than $2,500, you might be eligible for the Additional Child Tax credit. That amount is 15% of earned income greater then $2,500 up to a maximum of $1,400.

Too high of an income will reduce or eliminate the CTC also.
Married Filing Joint - $400,000
Single, Head of Household, or Married Filing Separate-- $200,000

The child tax credit will be reported on lone 19 on the 1040 form. Additional Child tax credit on line 28 on the 1040 form.

**Disclaimer: This post is for discussion purposes only and is NOT tax advice. The author takes no responsibility for the accuracy of any information in this post.**
Level 15

If I qualify for the child tax credit, but Turbotax says I do not, how can I fix it?

Q.  If I qualify for the child tax credit, but Turbotax (TT) says I do not, how can I fix it?

A.  If  you qualify and TT says you don't, you've entered something wrong.  But you may not qualify. 


 There are 6 possible reasons; you aren’t getting the Child Tax credit (CTC). It’s usually #4:

  1. You’ve entered something wrong. In the personal Info section, for the dependent, you must select answers that indicate that he/she is your dependent child. If the child was born during the year, say he/she lived with you all year (note: TurboTax changed how this section is done two years ago, you may need to go thru the interview again or even delete your dependent and start over). If the child was with you for 6 months and 1 day, you need to mark that the child was with you 7 months. The CTC is not an automatic $2000, per child. It is income dependent. If you haven't entered your income yet, the CTC will not show.
  2. Your child may be  too old (over 16). You can still claim your child, as a dependent. What you can't claim is the Child tax credit. This comes as a big surprise to many parents the year their child turns 17. A child over age 16 no longer qualifies for the Child Tax credit (CTC). Although a child can still be a student dependent through age 23, and a qualifying child for EIC,  the Child Tax Credit expires the year they turn 17 and you no longer get the $2000 CTC. Instead you will get the non-refundable (up to) $500 Other Dependent Credit.
  3. Your income is too high. The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is phased out at higher incomes starting at $400,000 for joint filers  ($200K single). You lose $50 for each $1000 (rounding up) your income is over that threshold.   Previously it was $75,000 for single, head of household, and qualifying widow or widower filers; and $110,000 for joint filers.
  4. Your income is too low.  The child tax credit  (CTC) is also limited to your tax liability. The CTC is a non-refundable credit and can only reduce your income tax to 0, It can not help you beyond eliminating your tax liability. But, if you have more than $2500 of earned income, some or all of it is usually given back to you thru the "Additional Child tax credit". That is, part of the CTC may be on line 28 of form 1040 (2020 version) instead of line 19 (lines 18b and 13a in 2019).   The  ACTC is calculated on form 8812 and  is basically 15% of your earned income over $2500. The ACTC is a maximum of $1400 per child (not $2000).
  5. You are the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent is claiming the dependent this year. The CTC goes with the dependency, even though the custodial parent still gets the Earned Income Credit, Dependent care credit and Head of Household.
    6. Another possibility is that part of your tax due is not regular income tax, but is self-employment tax (FICA), early distribution penalty or another type of additional tax, for which the CTC cannot be used.

To get a 'second opinion' on-line direct from IRS, try


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