child tax credit, age 17 cutoff

jiggreenFebruary 9, 2006

I was just wondering if anyone knew the logic behind cutting off the child tax credit at age 17, thereby making any child ineligible if they turned 17 at any point in time during that year. Why 17? Why not 18, or why not "the year of high school graduation". My 17 year old is in 11th grade, and my husband about blew a gasket when he found out that we only would receive the tax credit for our 7 year old for 2005. I know they had to pick a cutoff age, but 17 just seems to be a strange age.


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like anything else the fed does, it makes no sense.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 10:02AM
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I hear you! Mine turned 17 in November, and it really hurts to not get that credit. No logic whatsoever. I always thought you got the credit until 18 or as long as a full time student.

We're going to owe big time because hubby was on unemployment for half the year, which is of course taxable. Another thing that makes no sense; I know it's income, but if you're on unemployment, you really can't afford to sock away money for taxes. Why don't they withhold?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 5:46PM
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The government's short of money.

Nicking middle class folks - a little nick here, a little one there.

**Plus** running up huge deficits - to add to a gargantuan government debt.

To fund those tax cuts - remember them?

That benefit mostly ...

... whom?

Tough trying to make a shrunken blanket cover both toes and neck - in a cold house.

Have a great week, everyone.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 3:26PM
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if you ask they will withhold federal taxes for unemployment. You need to ask though, they don't do it automatically. NY State will NOT withhold state taxes from unemployment. I assume that they want you to ask because this is a temporary thing and they are hoping you will find a job soon and it will pay you more money. The unemployment check is just a way to help you pay your bills while you are looking for a new job. Some people have more bills than there check pays (as there is a cap on payment) so if you bet on getting a better paying job soon, not withholding taxes may be better for you.
I personally withheld my federal taxes, I didn't want to worry about it later.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 4:58PM
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This is just a guess, but older than 16 wouldn't really seem like a "child" anymore, at least to me.

A more basic question of fairness could also be why have this credit at all, since it effectively requires childless couples to pay higher tax rates than couples that have decided to have kids.

I, by the way, have two kids, a four year old and a six year old, but don't usually qualify for the credit.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 1:15PM
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How do you not qualify for the credit? I thought it was automatic as long as your kids live with you and aren't claimed on someone else's taxes. Ohhh...maybe that's why...

Well, as for a kid not being a kid once he/she reaches 16 - most parents continue to support their kids through high school (and college, for that matter.) Age 18 makes much more sense; age 22 as long as a full time student makes even more. At least they could pro-rate the credit the year your child turns 17; mine did in november and it hurts to lose the entire credit when he was 16 almost the entire year.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 1:50PM
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i just did some sleuthing, and i guess not everybody qualifies for the credit, if you have a high income (so perhaps that is why richard_f said he didnt qualify)

Married Filing Jointly: $110,000
Married Filing Separately: $55,000
Other Filing Status: $75,000

"The definition of a qualifying child changed in 2005. The IRS hasn't updated its Web site with this information, but my understanding is that for purposes of the Child Tax Credit, as of 2005 a qualifying child is someone who:

Is under the age of 17 at the end of 2005.
Is your son, daughter, legally adopted child, grandchild, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of the above.

The total credit (not the amount per child) is reduced by $50 for each $1,000 that your adjusted gross income exceeds the income threshold. "

i wish our income was high enough that we didn't qualify, but since we are well within the income requirements, i think it's ridiculous that our 17 year old (who was 16 for 3/4 of the year 2005) is not eligible for the credit. we've had more expenses for him this year than for our 7 year old!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 9:16PM
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Many of us don't qualify. I have three which meet the age requirements and most years we don't get anything or very little. Has nothing to do with the gov. trying to help you cover expenses for the kids. Just a political move to look "family friendly."

My oldest son wasn't expensive at 17 since by that time he was working and I expected him to pick up expenses for things he wanted.

I do wish it had been on the books when he was small. I would have qualified then.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 2:08AM
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As for continuing to support your kids after they turn 17, you can still claim an exemption for them as dependents up to age 24 if they are full time students. The credit is on top of that.

I finished my return and filed electronically yesterday. I actually did get a partial child credit for 2005. It phases out if you're over the income limits.

I still think that if people decide to have kids, knowing that it's not going to be cheap, there's a basic fairness issue in terms of the tax breaks that they get vs. people who can't or don't want to have children.

Here is a link that might be useful: IRS Dependent test

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 11:01AM
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People that have kids DESERVE the tax break. If everyone decided to not have kids, there would be no future for man kind. The tax credit does not even come close to paying for the annual expense of raising a child, but it helps.
You childless folks need to realize that these kids will someday be paying into the social security system that will one day send you monthly checks in your senior years.

As for the age 17 cutoff, that is the Feds way of saying, "Your kids is old enough to get a job and pay taxes."

I have only one child remaining who is under 17 (last tax year I had two) and I don't get to claim any credit this year due to MAGI phase-out.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 10:08AM
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I'm sorry . . . you mean there is an exemption AND a credit for a child? I had no idea. I guess I'm just another one of those clueless, undeserving childless folks. But I have kindly been paying taxes to support public education for 29 years, so that is something.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 6:07AM
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This really burns me up when I went in today to find out that I would not be recieving the child tax credit on my son that just turned 17 in Oct. and is in 11th grade and is also planning to go off to college. I could undestand 18 afterall that is the age that we are still legally respon onsible for them but that is all well and good, lets see here keeping them clothed feed sheltered in school and lets not even start on where the school taxes are going and still have to provide all we do at the begining of each year and we cant get a simple tax break till our child is out of school or I would of even understood 18 cause they are still in high school. Sounds to me someone needs to be making better decisions on behalf of the people.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 12:37AM
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The reason is that the tax credit was to cover child care provided by another. At 17 hopefully no one still needs a baby sitter.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 9:29PM
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Child tax credit and child and dependent care credit are two totally separate credits. One has nothing to do with the other.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 2:55PM
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at least you will probably get the tuition credit for college expenses. 2k credit makes paying 25k for tuition so much easier. haha.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 10:57AM
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I was very upset to find out that I would not be receiveing the child tax credit for my daughter this tax season. She was only 17 for 3 days. We really needed that credit. Ive been fighting cancer for 2yrs and my disability sure isnt the income I had when I was nursing and my poor husband has to fight to get enough hrs to make ends meat. This is just awful

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 8:21PM
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Several years ago, I did my own taxes and took the child care tax credit for my 19 year old unemployed child. I got auditted by IRS, , penalized , interest,etc. Ended up owing around $2000. So if 16 or 17 seems odd, don't question it. Just obey the law.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 6:57AM
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I just did my taxes and they said i could not claim my 17 year old son he is a full time student in 11th grade he lives at home with me i pay for his housing food clothes school supplies everything. I though as long as a child is in school full time not working and lives with his parents i could clam him on mytaxes add a dependent. This is bull s**t ther government does not care about the family's that struggle and look forward to claming there children add a dependent. So I'm out $1000 cuz i take care of my son that's a full time student.I'm sure all the government workers get to clam there children 17 and older. This is just so very wrong.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2015 at 10:33AM
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Other than noting that this thread is > 9 years old, the comments have been mostly from uninformed or misinformed people. There are two items being discussed, they're different. If you read the earlier comments, it's easy to see that many have mixed up one with the other. Or they were told the rule for one, and thought it applied to the other.

1) The Exemption for Dependents is a subtraction from income (it's increased over the years, it's a $3950 deduction for 2014) for each dependent child for whom you provide > half of their support and who are under 19, or under 24 if a full time student, or totally disabled. This is the same deduction as the personal exemption each adult taxpayer gets, you get one for every member of the family.

2) There's a Child and Dependent Care credit. A credit is a subtraction from income tax, not from income. Run the words together and you'll understand what it's for - CHILDCARE expenses that allow a person to work. Pre-school, daycare, paying a relative to look after a smaller child, etc. The expenses must be for a child 12 years of age or younger, it may have included older kids in prior years. There aren't too many 16 year-olds with baby sitters or in nursery school. It's a credit of one-third or less of expenses incurred, it runs to $1000 or less per year.

The "government" doesn't make the rules, Congress does. If you don't like the tax rules, or would like a new rule to be put in, write your representative in Congress. That's where the laws come from.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 26, 2015 at 2:42PM
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This is just one very tiny reason we should toss the entire 77,000 page tax code into the woodstove and start over. Reduce the entire 1040 to 3 lines:

1- How much money did you make last year?

2- What is 10% of that amount?

3-Send it in.

No deductions, no exemptions, no subsidies, nothing.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2015 at 4:16AM
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The tax code isn't as large as you suggest but it's not do-able as an afternoon reading project. Should it be?

Politicians of both political parties are equally responsible for the bulk and muddle behind today's tax rules, What's there is the result of 60+ years of politics and political wrangling.

Proposals for changing to a flat rate tax, as a concept, are always DOA. For perhaps a dozen good reasons. Yet the topic is kept alive, for reasons I don't understand.

The easiest to understand and calculate flat rate tax would be a value added tax. Outside the US, these can range from 15-25% on all goods and services. That's a simplified flat tax you can push if that's what you're looking for. But as with a flat income tax, it's also not a good idea to have here.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2015 at 12:25PM
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On $5,000. income ... 10% is $500.00.

On $1,000,000. income ... 10% is $100,000.

Can anyone spell, "fairness"?

ole joyfuelled

    Bookmark   March 20, 2015 at 2:14PM
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A person with income of $5000 has insufficient money to pay for food and shelter. After paying his 10% tax, he has even less. He really can't afford to pay any tax.

A person with $1 million of income, after paying $100K of tax, has hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars left over after food and shelter to do and buy lots of other things. He can afford to pay this tax and more, without compromising his lifestyle.

Flat rate taxes and sales/value added/goods and services taxes are regressive, they cause a disproportionate burden on people who can least afford to pay them. Look up the definition of this term insofar as it applies to tax systems, you'll understand the concept better than you do now.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2015 at 4:20PM
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I don't mean to be rude, but what I say is probably going to be offensive. The thing that always bothers me about tax policy and politics, is the fact that it engages people in the discussion who really have no business there, but are convinced they know a lot. I am the Dean of Accounting and Finance at a university and I spend a great deal of my time looking at and researching money, the economy, a bit on taxes, etc... And with all that I am barely able to hold my own in a discussion about massive reformation of the tax code, and its effect on the economy. There are maybe a few thousand people thousand people in this country who are better at this than I am (believe it or not I am trying to be humble). None of those people are running for office, to be fair I doubt any of those people are even advising someone who is. The reason I am pretty sure of this is because of the liberal application of an old poem by Alexander Pope, "For fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

    Bookmark   March 21, 2015 at 9:23AM
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I'm not sure to whom or what this last comment was directed. I spent a career as a tax adviser to large and growing corporations and tax policy and advocacy was something that got a lot of attention. At the Congressional level, "tax policy" isn't theoretical or philosophical, it's political. Nothing more.

Elected officials, even those on the relevant tax committees, know little to nothing about the matters they oversee. They rely on their staffs, who generally are technically competent. Changes are made based upon budget requirements and the lawmakers' perceptions of public opinion and the views of those who have made the most campaign contributions. True macroeconomic policy considerations don't usually play any role in what's done.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2015 at 9:16AM
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It was not really directed at you. I was more or less saying that people who want to scrap the current system to enact some completely different new system that is more fair or has some other advantage, usually have no clue what they are talking about. You didn't even want to change the system. I was agreeing with you, Snidely

    Bookmark   March 23, 2015 at 4:09PM
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