Child tax credits are designed to help families manage the costs of raising a child. These credits work by allowing taxpayers with dependent children to deduct a fixed amount from the taxes they owe. The IRS provides a child tax credit for families paying their federal income taxes. New York State parents also can claim the Empire State Child Tax Credit on their state tax return.
The Empire Child Tax Credit is a fixed state-level tax credit which parents can use for each child dependent in their family.
Understanding the Residency Requirement
New York State residents who have lived in the state for at least a full year are eligible for the child tax credit. Residents who claim the federal child tax credit on their federal return automatically qualify for the Empire State child tax credit. To claim the federal tax credit, you must file IRS form 1040, 1040A or 1040NR rather than form 1040EZ or 1040NR-EZ. Those who don’t claim the federal credit still may be able to claim the state credit if their income is within certain limits and they have a qualifying child.
Definition of Qualifying Child
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance defines a qualifying child as being at least 4 years old on Dec. 31 of the tax year. In addition, the child must meet the IRS child credit qualifications, including being under age 17 at the end of the year, living with the taxpayer claiming the child for more than half of the year, and not providing more than half of his or her own support during the tax year. In addition, a child must be a United State citizen or legal resident. Qualifying children can be biological children, adopted children, stepchildren and foster children, as well as the taxpayer’s minor siblings, step-siblings and half-siblings. A child must be claimed as a dependent to qualify for the tax credit.
Taxpayer Income Limits
To claim the Empire State Child Credit, your federal adjusted gross income must be below the allowed limit. For married couples filing joint returns, income must be $110,000 or less. For those filing single, head of household or as a widow or widower, the income limit is $75,000. For married couples filing separately, the limit is $55,000.
Size of Empire State Child Tax Credit
For New York State taxpayers who claim the federal child tax credit, the Empire State child credit is $100 for each child or 33 percent of the federal credit, whichever is greater. Taxpayers who don’t claim the federal credit can claim $100 for each child.
- IRS: Child Tax Credit at a Glance
- New York State: Empire State Child Credit
- New York State: Claim for Empire State Child Credit
- Internal Revenue Service. "About Publication 972, Child Tax Credit." Accessed Dec. 13, 2019.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Publication 972 (2018), Child Tax Credit." Accessed Dec. 7, 2019.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Child Tax Credit 3." Accessed Dec. 13, 2019.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Get Ready for Taxes: Here's how the New Tax Law Revised Family Tax Credits." Accessed July 28, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "What's New With the Child Tax Credit After Tax Reform." Accessed Dec. 13, 2019.
- Internal Revenue Service. "2018 Instructions for Schedule 8812 (2018)." Accessed Dec. 7, 2019.
Catie Watson spent three decades in the corporate world before becoming a freelance writer. She has an English degree from UC Berkeley and specializes in topics related to personal finance, careers and business.