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ARRA and the Additional Child Tax Credit

Update May 31, 2013 — This page has been updated to reflect the fact that the Additional Child Tax Credit change under ARRA, which was to expire at the end of 2012, was extended through December 2017 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

Update Oct. 31, 2011 — This page has been updated to reflect the fact that the Additional Child Tax Credit change under ARRA, which was to expire at the end of 2010, was extended through December 2012 by the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2010.

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), more families will be eligible for the additional child tax credit because of a change to the way the credit is figured.

Taxpayers who cannot take full advantage of the child tax credit because the credit is more than the taxes they owe may receive a payment for some or all of the credit that is not used to offset their taxes. It is a refundable credit, which means taxpayers may receive refunds even when they do not owe any tax.

ARRA reduces the minimum earned income amount used to figure the additional child tax credit to $3,000. Before ARRA, the minimum earned income amount was set to rise to $12,550. Reducing the amount to $3,000 permits more taxpayers to use the additional child tax credit and increases the amount of the payments they may receive.

Under ARRA, this change to the way the credit is figured applied to tax years beginning in 2009 and 2010. The Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2010 extended it to apply to tax years beginning in 2011 and 2012. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended this provision for five years through December 2017.

See Publication 972, Child Tax Credit for more information.

Return to IRS Information Related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.