Publication 972 (2017), Child Tax Credit

For use in preparing 2017 Returns


Publication 972 - Introductory Material

Future Developments

For the latest information about developments related to Pub. 972, such as legislation enacted after it was published, go to IRS.gov/Pub972.

What’s New

Disaster tax relief. Disaster tax relief was enacted for those impacted by certain Presidentially declared disasters, including provisions which allow taxpayers to use their 2016 earned income to figure their 2017 additional child tax credit. See the Instructions for Schedule 8812 and Pub. 976, Disaster Relief, for more information.

Reminders

Delayed refund for returns claiming the EIC or ACTC. The IRS can't issue refunds before mid-February 2018 for returns that properly claimed the earned income credit (EIC) or the additional child tax credit (ACTC). This applies to the entire refund, not just the portion associated with these credits. The IRS expects the earliest that earned income credit and/or additional child tax credit related refunds will be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards is February 27, 2018, if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.

Child tax credit and additional child tax credit may be disallowed. If you claim the CTC or ACTC, but you are not eligible for the credit and it is later determined that your error was due to reckless or intentional disregard of the CTC or ACTC rules, you will not be allowed to claim either credit for 2 years. If it is determined that your error was due to fraud, you will not be allowed to claim either credit for 10 years. You may also have to pay penalties.

Form 8862 required. If your 2016 CTC or ACTC was denied or reduced for any reason other than a math or clerical error, you must attach a completed Form 8862 to your 2017 tax return to claim the credit in 2017. See Form 8862 and its instructions for details.

Photographs of missing children. The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC). Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or visiting www.missingkids.com if you recognize a child.

Introduction

The purpose of this publication is:

  1. To figure the child tax credit you claim on Form 1040, line 52; Form 1040A, line 35; or Form 1040NR, line 49; and

  2. To figure the amount of earned income you enter on line 4a of Schedule 8812 (Form 1040A or 1040), Child Tax Credit.

 

This publication is intended primarily for individuals sent here by the instructions to Forms 1040, 1040A, or 1040NR, or Schedule 8812. Even if you were not sent here by the instructions to one of the forms or the schedule, you can still choose to use this publication to figure your credit. However, most individuals can use a simpler worksheet in their tax form instructions.

If you were sent here from your Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040NR instructions.

Complete the Child Tax Credit Worksheet later in this publication.

If you were sent here from your Schedule 8812 instructions.

Complete the 1040 and 1040NR Filers —Earned Income Worksheet later in this publication.

If you have not read your Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040NR instructions.

Read the explanation of who must use this publication next. If you find that you are not required to use this publication to figure your child tax credit, you can use the simpler worksheet in the Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040NR instructions to figure your credit.

Who must use this publication.

If you answer "Yes" to either of the following questions, you must use this publication to figure your child tax credit.

  1. Are you excluding income from Puerto Rico or filing any of the following forms?

    1. Form 2555 or 2555-EZ (relating to foreign earned income).

    2. Form 4563 (exclusion of income for residents of American Samoa).

  2. Are you claiming any of the following credits?

    1. Mortgage interest credit, Form 8396.

    2. Adoption credit, Form 8839.

    3. Residential energy efficient property credit, Form 5695, Part I.

    4. District of Columbia first-time homebuyer credit, Form 8859.

 

Comments and suggestions.

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

You can send us comments through IRS.gov/FormComments. Or you can write to:

Internal Revenue Service
Tax Forms and Publications
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224

 

Although we can’t respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax forms, instructions, and publications.

Ordering forms and publications.

Visit IRS.gov/FormsPubs to download forms and publications. Otherwise, you can go to IRS.gov/OrderForms to order current and prior-year forms and instructions. Your order should arrive within 10 business days.

Tax questions.

If you have a tax question not answered by this publication, check IRS.gov and How To Get Tax Help at the end of this publication.

Publication 972 - Main Content

Child Tax Credit

This credit is for people who have a qualifying child as defined later. It is in addition to the credit for child and dependent care expenses (on Form 1040, line 49; Form 1040A, line 31; or Form 1040NR, line 47) and the earned income credit (on Form 1040, line 66a; or Form 1040A, line 42a).

The maximum amount you can claim for the credit is $1,000 for each qualifying child.

Qualifying Child

A qualifying child for purposes of the CTC is a child who:

  1. Is your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew),

  2. Was under age 17 at the end of 2017,

  3. Did not provide over half of his or her own support for 2017,

  4. Lived with you for more than half of 2017 (see Exceptions to time lived with you , later),

  5. Is claimed as a dependent on your return,

  6. Does not file a joint return for the year (or files it only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid), and

  7. Was a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or a U.S. resident alien. For more information, see Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens. If the child was adopted, see Adopted child , later.

 

For each qualifying child, you must either check the box on Form 1040 or Form 1040A, line 6c, column (4); or Form 1040NR, line 7c, column (4).

Example 1.

Your son turned 17 on December 30, 2017. He is a citizen of the United States and you claimed him as a dependent on your return. He is not a qualifying child for the CTC because he was not under age 17 at the end of 2017.

Example 2.

Your 10-year-old nephew lives in Mexico and qualifies as your dependent. Because he is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien, he is not a qualifying child for the CTC.

Filers who have certain child dependents with an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

If you are claiming a CTC or ACTC for a child identified on your tax return with an ITIN, you must complete Part I of Schedule 8812 (Form 1040A or 1040). An ITIN is for tax use only and may expire under certain conditions. See the Instructions for Form W-7 for details.

Although a child may be your dependent, you may claim a CTC or ACTC only for a dependent who is a citizen, national, or resident of the United States. To be treated as a resident of the United States, a child generally will need to meet the requirements of the substantial presence test. For more information about the substantial presence test, see Pub. 519.

Adopted child.

An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.

If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. national and your adopted child lived with you all year as a member of your household in 2017, that child meets condition (7) above to be a qualifying child for the CTC.

Exceptions to time lived with you.

A child is considered to have lived with you for more than half of 2017 if the child was born or died in 2017 and your home was this child's home for more than half the time he or she was alive. Temporary absences by you or the child for special circumstances, such as school, vacation, business, medical care, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility, count as time the child lived with you.

There are also exceptions for kidnapped children and children of divorced or separated parents. For details, see the instructions for line 6c in either the Form 1040 or Form 1040A instructions.

Qualifying child of more than one person.

A special rule applies if your qualifying child is the qualifying child of more than one person. For details, see the instructions for line 6c in either the Form 1040 or Form 1040A instructions.

Limits on the Credit

You must reduce the maximum credit amount of $1,000 for each child if either (1) or (2) applies.

  1. The amount on Form 1040, line 47; Form 1040A, line 30; or Form 1040NR, line 45, is less than the credit. If this amount is zero, you cannot take this credit because there is no tax to reduce. But you may be able to take the ACTC. See Additional Child Tax Credit , later.

  2. Your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is more than the amount shown below for your filing status.

    1. Married filing jointly – $110,000.

    2. Single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) – $75,000.

    3. Married filing separately – $55,000.

 

Modified AGI.

For purposes of the CTC, your modified AGI is your AGI plus the following amounts that may apply to you.

  • Any amount excluded from income because of the exclusion of income from Puerto Rico. On the dotted line next to Form 1040, line 38, enter the amount excluded and identify it as "EPRI." Also attach a copy of any Form(s) 499R-2/W-2PR to your return.

  • Any amount on line 45 or line 50 of Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income.

  • Any amount on line 18 of Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

  • Any amount on line 15 of Form 4563, Exclusion of Income for Bona Fide Residents of American Samoa.

 

If you do not have any of the above, your modified AGI is the same as your AGI.

AGI.

Your AGI is the amount on Form 1040, line 38; Form 1040A, line 22; or Form 1040NR, line 37.

Claiming the Credit

To claim the CTC, you must file Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040NR. You cannot claim the CTC on Form 1040EZ or Form 1040NR-EZ. You must provide the name and identification number (usually a social security number) on your tax return for each qualifying child.

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Taxpayer identification number needed by due date of return. If you do not have a social security number (SSN) or IRS individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) by the due date of your 2017 return (including extensions), you cannot claim the CTC or the ACTC on either your original or an amended 2017 return, even if you later get an SSN or ITIN. Also, neither credit is allowed on either your original or an amended 2017 return for a child who does not have an SSN, ITIN, or IRS adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN) by the due date of your return (including extensions), even if that child later gets one of those numbers.

If you apply for an ATIN or ITIN on or before the due date of your 2017 return (including extensions) and the IRS issues you an ATIN or ITIN as a result of the application, the IRS will consider your ATIN or ITIN as issued on or before the due date of your return.

Earned Income

You will need to figure your earned income using one of the worksheets that appear later in this publication if you are completing the Line 11 Worksheet , later, or Schedule 8812. Form 1040 or Form 1040NR filers, use the 1040 and 1040NR Filers —Earned Income Worksheet , later, to figure your earned income. Form 1040A filers, use the 1040A Filers —Earned Income Worksheet , later.

For this purpose, earned income includes only:

  • Taxable earned income, and

  • Nontaxable combat pay.

 

Additional Child Tax Credit

This credit is for certain individuals who get less than the full amount of the CTC. The ACTC may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax.

Foreign earned income.

If you file Form 2555 or 2555-EZ (both relating to foreign earned income), you cannot claim the ACTC.

Election to use your 2016 earned income.

You may be able to elect to use your 2016 earned income to figure your ACTC if your 2016 earned income is more than your 2017 earned income and your main home (or the main home of your spouse, if filing jointly) was located in one of the Presidentially declared disaster areas eligible for this relief. See Pub. 976 or the Instructions for Schedule 8812 to determine if you are eligible to make this election.

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If you elect to use your 2016 earned income to claim the EIC, you must use your 2016 earned income to claim the ACTC.

How to claim the additional child tax credit.

To claim the ACTC, follow the steps below.

  1. Make sure you figured the amount, if any, of your child tax credit.

  2. If you answered "Yes" on line 9 or line 10 of the Child Tax Credit Worksheet in the Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040NR instructions (or on line 13 of the Child Tax Credit Worksheet in this publication), use Parts II–IV of Schedule 8812 to see if you can take the additional child tax credit.

  3. If you have an additional child tax credit on line 13 of Schedule 8812, carry it to Form 1040, line 67; Form 1040A, line 43; or Form 1040NR, line 64.

 

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Form 8862 required. If you take the ACTC even though you aren't eligible and it is determined that your error is due to reckless or intentional disregard of the ACTC rules, you won't be allowed to take the credit for 2 years even if you’re otherwise eligible to do so. If you fraudulently take the ACTC, you won't be allowed to take the credit for 10 years. See the Instructions for Form 8862 for more information. You may also have to pay penalties.

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Taxpayer identification number needed by due date of return. If you do not have a social security number (SSN) or IRS individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) by the due date of your 2017 return (including extensions), you cannot claim the child tax credit or the additional child tax credit on either your original or an amended 2017 return, even if you later get an SSN or ITIN. Also, neither credit is allowed on either your original or an amended 2017 return for a child who does not have an SSN, ITIN, or IRS adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN) by the due date of your return (including extensions), even if that child later gets one of those numbers.

If you apply for an ATIN or ITIN on or before the due date of your 2017 return (including extensions) and the IRS issues you an ATIN or ITIN as a result of the application, the IRS will consider your ATIN or ITIN as issued on or before the due date of your return.

Paperwork Reduction Act Notice

We ask for the information on the worksheets in this publication to carry out the Internal Revenue laws of the United States. You are required to give us the information if requested. We need it to ensure that you are complying with these laws and to allow us to figure and collect the right amount of tax.

You are not required to provide the information requested on a form (or worksheet in this publication) that is subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act unless the form (or publication) displays a valid OMB control number. Books or records relating to a form, its instructions, or this publication must be retained as long as their contents may become material in the administration of any Internal Revenue law. Generally, tax returns and return information are confidential, as required by section 6103.

The average time and expenses required to complete these worksheets will vary depending on individual circumstances. For the estimated averages, see the instructions for your income tax return.

If you have suggestions for making these worksheets simpler, we would be happy to hear from you. See Comments and suggestions , earlier.

Publication 972 - Additional Material

Child Tax Credit Worksheet

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Child tax worksheet - page 1.

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Child Tax Credit Worksheet—Continued

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Child tax worksheet - page 2.

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Line 11 Worksheet

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Line 11 worksheet - page 1.

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Line 11 worksheet - page 2.

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1040 and 1040NR Filers — Earned Income Worksheet (for line 2 of the Line 11 Worksheet or line 4a of Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit)

Before you begin:  

✓ Use this worksheet only if you were sent here from the Line 11 Worksheet earlier in this publication or line
4a of Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit.
✓ Disregard community property laws when figuring the amounts to enter on this worksheet.
✓ If married filing jointly, include your spouse's amounts with yours when completing this worksheet.
 
 
1. a. Enter the amount from Form 1040, line 7, or Form 1040NR, line 8 1a.  
  b. Enter the amount of any nontaxable combat pay received. Also enter this amount on Schedule 8812, line 4b. This amount should be shown in Form(s) W-2, box 12, with code Q 1b.  
    Next, if you are filing Schedule C, C-EZ, F, or SE, or you received a Schedule K-1 (Form 1065 or Form 1065-B), go to line 2a. Otherwise, skip lines 2a through 2e and go to line 3.    
2. a. Enter any statutory employee income reported on line 1 of Schedule C or C-EZ 2a.  
  b. Enter any net profit or (loss) from Schedule C, line 31; Schedule C-EZ, line 3; Schedule K-1 (Form 1065), box 14, code A (other than farming); and Schedule K-1 (Form 1065-B), box 9, code J1.* Reduce any Schedule K-1 amounts as described in the instructions for completing Schedule SE in the Partner's Instructions for Schedule K-1. Do not include on this line any statutory employee income or any other amounts exempt from self-employment tax. Options and commodities dealers must add any gain or subtract any loss (in the normal course of dealing in or trading section 1256 contracts) from section 1256 contracts or related property 2b.  
  c. Enter any net farm profit or (loss) from Schedule F, line 34, and from farm partnerships, Schedule K-1 (Form 1065), box 14, code A.* Reduce any Schedule K-1 amounts as described in the instructions for completing Schedule SE in the Partner's Instructions for Schedule K-1. Do not include on this line any amounts exempt from self-employment tax 2c.      
  d. If you used the farm optional method to figure net earnings from self-employment, enter the amount from Schedule SE, Section B, line 15. Otherwise, skip this line and enter on line 2e the amount from line 2c 2d.      
  e. If line 2c is a profit, enter the smaller of line 2c or line 2d. If line 2c is a (loss), enter the (loss) from line 2c 2e.  
3. Combine lines 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, and 2e. If zero or less, stop. Do not complete the rest of this worksheet. Instead, enter -0- on line 2 of the Line 11 Worksheet or line 4a of Schedule 8812, whichever applies 3.  
4. Enter any amount included on line 1a that is:            
  a. A scholarship or fellowship grant not reported on Form W-2 4a.      
  b. For work done while an inmate in a penal institution (enter "PRI" and this amount on the dotted line next to line 7 of Form 1040 or line 8 of Form 1040NR) 4b.      
  c. A pension or annuity from a nonqualified deferred compensation plan or a nongovernmental section 457 plan (enter "DFC" and this amount on the dotted line next to line 7 of Form 1040 or line 8 of Form 1040NR). This amount may be shown in box 11 of your Form W-2. If you received such an amount but box 11 is blank, contact your employer for the amount received as a pension or annuity 4c.      
  d. A Medicaid waiver payment you exclude from income (see the instructions for Form 1040, line 21, and Pub. 525 for information about these payments) 4d.      
5. Enter the amount from Form 1040, line 27, or Form 1040NR, line 27 5.      
6. Add lines 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, and 5 6.  
7. Subtract line 6 from line 3 7.  
   
  • If you were sent here from the Line 11 Worksheet, enter this amount on line 2 of that worksheet.

  • If you were sent here from Schedule 8812, enter this amount on line 4a of that form.

   
*If you have any Schedule K-1 amounts and you are not required to file Schedule SE, complete the appropriate line(s) of Schedule SE, Section A. Put your name and social security number on Schedule SE and attach it to your return.  
                 

1040A Filers — Earned Income Worksheet (for line 2 of the Line 11 Worksheet)

Before you begin:  
✓ Use this worksheet only if you were sent here from the Line 11 Worksheet earlier in this publication.
✓ Disregard community property laws when figuring the amounts to enter on this worksheet.
             
1. a. Enter the amount from Form 1040A, line 7 1a.      
  b. Enter the amount of any nontaxable combat pay received. Also enter this amount on Schedule 8812, line 4b. This amount should be shown in Form(s) W-2, box 12, with code Q 1b.      
  c. Add lines 1a and 1b     1c.  
2. Enter any amount included on line 1a that is:        
  a. A scholarship or fellowship grant not reported on Form W-2 2a.      
  b. For work done while an inmate in a penal institution (enter "PRI" and this amount next to line 7 of Form 1040A) 2b.      
  c. A pension or annuity from a nonqualified deferred compensation plan or a nongovernmental section 457 plan (enter "DFC" and this amount next to line 7 of Form 1040A). This amount may be shown in box 11 of your Form W-2. If you received such an amount but box 11 is blank, contact your employer for the amount received as a pension or annuity 2c.      
3. Add lines 2a through 2c 3.  
4. Subtract line 3 from line 1c. Enter the result here and on line 2 of the Line 11 Worksheet 4.  
             

Additional Medicare Tax and RRTA Tax Worksheet (for line 6 of the Line 11 Worksheet)

If your employer withheld or you paid Additional Medicare Tax or Tier 1 RRTA taxes, use this worksheet to figure the amount to enter on line 6 of the Line 11 Worksheet.
Social security tax, Medicare tax, and Additional Medicare Tax on wages.
1. Enter the social security tax withheld (Form(s) W-2, box 4) 1.  
2. Enter the Medicare tax withheld (Form(s) W-2, box 6). Box 6 includes any Additional Medicare Tax 2.  
3. Enter any amount from Form 8959, line 7 3.  
4. Add lines 1, 2, and 3 4.  
5. Enter the Additional Medicare Tax withheld (Form 8959, line 22) 5.  
6. Subtract line 5 from line 4 6.  
Additional Medicare Tax on Self-Employment Income.
7. Enter one-half of the Additional Medicare Tax, if any, on self-employment income (one-half of Form 8959, line 13) 7.  
Tier 1 RRTA taxes as an employee of a railroad (enter amounts on lines 8, 9, 10, and 11) or employee representative (enter amounts on lines 12, 13, 14, and 15). Do not include amounts in Form W-2, box 14, that are identified as Additional Medicare Tax or Tier 2 tax. Do not include amounts shown on Form CT-2 on line 3 for Additional Medicare Tax or line 4 for Tier 2 tax.
8. Enter the Tier 1 tax (Form(s) W-2, box 14) 8.  
9. Enter the Medicare tax (Form(s) W-2, box 14) 9.  
10. Enter the Additional Medicare Tax, if any, on RRTA compensation as an employee (Form 8959, line 17). Do not use the same amount from Form 8959, line 17, for both this line and line 14 10.  
11. Add lines 8, 9, and 10 11.  
12. Enter one-half of Tier 1 tax (one-half of Form(s) CT-2, line 1, for all 4 quarters of 2017) 12.  
13. Enter one-half of Tier 1 Medicare tax (one-half of Form(s) CT-2, line 2, for all 4 quarters of 2017) 13.  
14. Enter one-half of the Additional Medicare Tax, if any, on RRTA compensation as an employee representative (one-half of Form 8959, line 17). Do not use the same amount from Form 8959, line 17, for both this line and line 10 14.  
15. Add lines 12, 13, and 14 15.  
Line 6 amount
16. Add lines 6, 7, 11, and 15. Enter here and on line 6 of the Line 11 Worksheet 16.  

How To Get Tax Help

If you have questions about a tax issue, need help preparing your tax return, or want to download free publications, forms, or instructions, go to IRS.gov and find resources that can help you right away.

Preparing and filing your tax return.

Find free options to prepare and file your return on IRS.gov or in your local community if you qualify.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, and limited-English-speaking taxpayers who need help preparing their own tax returns. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older. TCE volunteers specialize in answering questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

You can go to IRS.gov to see your options for preparing and filing your return which include the following.

 

  • Free File. Go to IRS.gov/FreeFile. See if you qualify to use brand-name software to prepare and e-file your federal tax return for free.

  • VITA. Go to IRS.gov/VITA, download the free IRS2Go app, or call 1-800-906-9887 to find the nearest VITA location for free tax preparation.

  • TCE. Go to IRS.gov/TCE, download the free IRS2Go app, or call 1-888-227-7669 to find the nearest TCE location for free tax preparation.

 

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Getting answers to your tax questions. On IRS.gov get answers to your tax questions anytime, anywhere.

  • Go to IRS.gov/Help or IRS.gov/LetUsHelp pages for a variety of tools that will help you get answers to some of the most common tax questions.

  • Go to IRS.gov/ITA for the Interactive Tax Assistant, a tool that will ask you questions on a number of tax law topics and provide answers. You can print the entire interview and the final response for your records.

  • Go to IRS.gov/Pub17 to get Pub. 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals, which features details on tax-saving opportunities, 2017 tax changes, and thousands of interactive links to help you find answers to your questions. View it online in HTML, as a PDF, or download it to your mobile device as an eBook.

  • You may also be able to access tax law information in your electronic filing software.

 

Getting tax forms and publications.

Go to IRS.gov/Forms to view, download, or print all of the forms and publications you may need. You can also download and view popular tax publications and instructions (including the 1040 instructions) on mobile devices as an eBook at no charge. Or, you can go to IRS.gov/OrderForms to place an order and have forms mailed to you within 10 business days.

Access your online account (Individual taxpayers only).

Go to IRS.gov/Account to securely access information about your federal tax account.

  • View the amount you owe, pay online or set up an online payment agreement.

  • Access your tax records online.

  • Review the past 18 months of your payment history.

  • Go to IRS.gov/SecureAccess to review the required identity authentication process.

 

Using direct deposit.

The fastest way to receive a tax refund is to combine direct deposit and IRS e-file. Direct deposit securely and electronically transfers your refund directly into your financial account. Eight in 10 taxpayers use direct deposit to receive their refund. IRS issues more than 90% of refunds in less than 21 days.

Delayed refund for returns claiming certain credits.

Due to changes in the law, the IRS can’t issue refunds before mid-February 2018, for returns that properly claimed the earned income credit (EIC) or the additional child tax credit (ACTC). This applies to the entire refund, not just the portion associated with these credits.

Getting a transcript or copy of a return.

The quickest way to get a copy of your tax transcript is to go to IRS.gov/Transcripts. Click on either "Get Transcript Online" or "Get Transcript by Mail" to order a copy of your transcript. If you prefer, you can:

  • Order your transcript by calling 1-800-908-9946.

  • Mail Form 4506-T or Form 4506T-EZ (both available on IRS.gov).

 

Using online tools to help prepare your return.

Go to IRS.gov/Tools for the following.

 

Resolving tax-related identity theft issues.

 

  • The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email or telephone to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.

  • Go to IRS.gov/IDProtection for information and videos.

  • If your SSN has been lost or stolen or you suspect you’re a victim of tax-related identity theft, visit IRS.gov/ID to learn what steps you should take.

 

Checking on the status of your refund.

 

  • Go to IRS.gov/Refunds.

  • Due to changes in the law, the IRS can’t issue refunds before mid-February 2018, for returns that properly claimed the EIC or the ACTC. This applies to the entire refund, not just the portion associated with these credits.

  • Download the official IRS2Go app to your mobile device to check your refund status.

  • Call the automated refund hotline at 1-800-829-1954.

 

Making a tax payment.

The IRS uses the latest encryption technology to ensure your electronic payments are safe and secure. You can make electronic payments online, by phone, and from a mobile device using the IRS2Go app. Paying electronically is quick, easy, and faster than mailing in a check or money order. Go to IRS.gov/Payments to make a payment using any of the following options.

  • IRS Direct Pay: Pay your individual tax bill or estimated tax payment directly from your checking or savings account at no cost to you.

  • Debit or credit card: Choose an approved payment processor to pay online, by phone, and by mobile device.

  • Electronic Funds Withdrawal: Offered only when filing your federal taxes using tax preparation software or through a tax professional.

  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System: Best option for businesses. Enrollment is required.

  • Check or money order: Mail your payment to the address listed on the notice or instructions.

  • Cash: You may be able to pay your taxes with cash at a participating retail store.

 

What if I can’t pay now?

Go to IRS.gov/Payments for more information about your options.

  • Apply for an online payment agreement (IRS.gov/OPA) to meet your tax obligation in monthly installments if you can’t pay your taxes in full today. Once you complete the online process, you will receive immediate notification of whether your agreement has been approved.

  • Use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier (IRS.gov/OIC) to see if you can settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe.

 

Checking the status of an amended return.

Go to IRS.gov/WMAR to track the status of Form 1040X amended returns. Please note that it can take up to 3 weeks from the date you mailed your amended return for it to show up in our system and processing it can take up to 16 weeks.

Understanding an IRS notice or letter.

Go to IRS.gov/Notices to find additional information about responding to an IRS notice or letter.

Contacting your local IRS office.

Keep in mind, many questions can be answered on IRS.gov without visiting an IRS Tax Assistance Center (TAC). Go to IRS.gov/LetUsHelp for the topics people ask about most. If you still need help, IRS TACs provide tax help when a tax issue can’t be handled online or by phone. All TACs now provide service by appointment so you’ll know in advance that you can get the service you need without long wait times. Before you visit, go to IRS.gov/TACLocator to find the nearest TAC, check hours, available services, and appointment options. Or, on the IRS2Go app, under the Stay Connected tab, choose the Contact Us option and click on “Local Offices.”

Watching IRS videos.

The IRS Video portal (IRSvideos.gov) contains video and audio presentations for individuals, small businesses, and tax professionals.

Getting tax information in other languages.

For taxpayers whose native language isn’t English, we have the following resources available. Taxpayers can find information on IRS.gov in the following languages.

 

The IRS TACs provide over-the-phone interpreter service in over 170 languages, and the service is available free to taxpayers.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service Is Here To Help You

What is the Taxpayer Advocate Service?

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayer rights. Our job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and that you know and understand your rights under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

What Can the Taxpayer Advocate Service Do For You?

We can help you resolve problems that you can’t resolve with the IRS. And our service is free. If you qualify for our assistance, you will be assigned to one advocate who will work with you throughout the process and will do everything possible to resolve your issue. TAS can help you if:

  • Your problem is causing financial difficulty for you, your family, or your business,

  • You face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action, or

  • You’ve tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded, or the IRS hasn’t responded by the date promised.

 

How Can You Reach Us?

We have offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Your local advocate’s number is in your local directory and at TaxpayerAdvocate.IRS.gov/Contact-Us. You can also call us at 1-877-777-4778.

How Can You Learn About Your Taxpayer Rights?

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights describes 10 basic rights that all taxpayers have when dealing with the IRS. Our Tax Toolkit at TaxpayerAdvocate.IRS.gov can help you understand what these rights mean to you and how they apply. These are your rights. Know them. Use them.

How Else Does the Taxpayer Advocate Service Help Taxpayers?

TAS works to resolve large-scale problems that affect many taxpayers. If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to us at IRS.gov/SAMS.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and need to resolve tax problems with the IRS, such as audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes. In addition, clinics can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee. To find a clinic near you, visit TaxpayerAdvocate.IRS.gov/LITCmap or see IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.

Index

A

Additional child tax credit, Additional Child Tax Credit
Assistance (see Tax help)

C

Claiming the credit, Claiming the Credit

E

Earned income, Earned Income

L

Limits on the credit, Limits on the Credit

P

Publications (see Tax help)

Q

Qualifying child, Qualifying Child

T

Tax help, How To Get Tax Help