Child Tax Credit Trick

Today TaxMama® hears from Gary in the TaxQuips Forum with a brilliant observation. “I was working on a tax return for a married couple with income too high to receive the $1,000 Child credit. I have found (just recently) that if one of the spouses has a much lower income, or no income, filing them separately will possibly give them an extra $1,000 per child within the IRS definitions. Is there some restrictions or exceptions to this?”

Ask TaxMama


Well Gary,

That’s very, very interesting.

I just looked at the information for the Child Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit on Form 8812.

None of the instructions say that you cannot claim a CTC when you file a married filing separate return. In fact, there is even an income phase-out level for married filing separate of $55,000.

So it seems that you CAN do this. Excellent catch!

Just watch out for community property states where you may have to split the income and expenses between them.

And folks, if you visit this page, you’ll find some interesting chatter between Gary and Susan Holtgrefe, EA about the married filing separate status.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about married filing separately and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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