How to Apply for Child Tax Benefits

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According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a parent may receive a Child Tax Benefit or Credit on their income tax return if the child is a qualifying child. A qualifying child must be related by blood or adoption to the parent, share the same residence as the parent, be under age 17 and be a United States citizen or resident.


To receive the Child Tax Credit for a qualifying child, a parent must file an income tax return using IRS Form 1040-A. The child's Social Security number must be listed on the form under Dependents and the parent must complete the Child Tax Credit worksheet as part of the income tax filing process.

Things You'll Need

  • IRS Form 1040-A
  • Social Security number for qualifying child
  • Open a web browser and navigate to the IRS forms and instructions website. Find the download links for Form 1040-A and the Instructions for Form 1040-A. This can be done by entering 1040-A in the search box and clicking "Find". Download and print Form 1040-A and the instructions.

  • Go to the section titled Line C - Dependents on page 20 of the instructions for Form 1040-A. Follow the steps on page 20 to determine if a child is a qualifying child and your eligibility for the Child Tax Credit.

  • Fill in the information for each qualifying child in Line 6c of Form 1040-A. This information will include the child's name, Social Security number and relationship to you. Check the box in column 4 of Line 6c indicating the child is a qualifying child.

  • Review the section for Child Tax Credit at the bottom of page 38 of the instructions for Form 1040-A. Complete the Child Tax Credit Worksheet on page 39 to determine if you can take the Child Tax Credit and the amount of the Child Tax Credit. Enter the amount of the tax credit on Line 33 of Form 1040-A.

  • Complete the remainder of your tax return by following the instructions for Form 1040-A and submit all necessary documentation to the IRS.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not qualify to take the Child Tax Credit, you may be able to take the Additional Child Tax Credit. Information about this credit is found in the section for Line 42 on page 64 of the instructions for Form 1040-A.
  • For more information about obtaining a Social Security number for your child, visit the Social Security Administration's website.
  • IRS Form 1040EZ cannot be used if claiming the Child Tax Credit.

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