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Why doesn't my daughter qualify for child tax credit

2 Replies
Level 15

Why doesn't my daughter qualify for child tax credit

We cannot see your tax return.   If she is older than 16 you do not get child tax credit.   Or if she does not have a Social Security number you do not get it.   Or if she lived with you for less than 7 months in 2020 you do not get CTC.   If she was born in 2020 you need to say she lived with you the whole year.


Or---if you did not have income earned from working you would not get the CTC.  But there is a 2019 lookback you might be able to use.


Many people had lower incomes during the pandemic in 2020 due to reduced work hours, layoffs, etc.  Or they received unemployment benefits.   These factors affect how much earned income credit and additional child tax credit you can get on your 2020 tax return and affect your 2020 refund.


There is a “lookback” option that allows you to use your 2019 amounts for earned income credit or child tax credit.   You can choose whether to use your 2019 amount or your 2020 amount.  Choose whichever amount gives you a better tax refund for your 2020 refund.


You can see this and choose in the earned income credit section  in Deductions and Credits. 


You still MUST enter all of your 2020 income into your 2020 tax return, including any unemployment you received.


Please follow these steps in TurboTax:

  1. Login to your TurboTax Account 
  2. Click on the Search box on the top and type "EIC"
  3. Click on “Jump to EIC”
  4. Answer the questions until you reach the screen "Do you want to use last year’s earned income?"
  5. Note your current refund amount using your 2020 earned income at the top of the screen.
  6. Click "Yes", enter your "2019 Earned Income" if the field is blank and click "continue".
  7. Compare the new refund amount using your 2019 earned income with the previously noted refund amount using your 2020 earned income.


**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
Level 15

Why doesn't my daughter qualify for child tax credit

 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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