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Child Tax Credit (CTC) & Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


To claim the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit, enter your qualifying children and other dependents on Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return and Schedule EIC, Earned Income Credit. See the instructions for Form 1040 to calculate your earned income and your credit.

To claim the Federal Child Tax Credit, enter your qualifying children and other dependents on Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return and attach a completed Schedule 8812, Credits for Qualifying Children and Other Dependents.

First complete and file your federal income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Second, file your Colorado Individual Income Tax Return (DR 0104) using numbers from your federal return.  

To claim the Colorado earned income tax credit (EITC), include with your Colorado return:

  • Individual Income Tax Credit Schedule (DR 0104CR). Claim the Colorado EITC is claimed on lines 3-6 or line 9; and
  • If applicable, the Colorado EITC Schedule for ITIN Filers or Certain Filers Under Age 25 (DR 0104TN).

To claim the Colorado child tax credit, include with your Colorado return:

  • Individual Income Tax Credit Schedule (DR 0104CR). Claim the Colorado child tax credit on line 1; and
  • Colorado Child Tax Credit Schedule (DR 0104CN). 

You can find more information on the Colorado income tax credits by visiting the web pages below. 

The following are free and easy ways to file your tax return:

Other tax filing resources are available when you search online, but they may not be free. Many online tax filing services have hidden fees or require that you pay to e-file your return. To get help or ask questions, contact 2-1-1 by visiting, calling (866) 760-6489 toll-free, or texting your ZIP code to 898-211 to get help or ask questions. You may also view the Department’s list of accepted software.

Taxpayers with disabilities may qualify for special assistance completing their tax return, including assistance from an IRS office, a Colorado VITA site, or an AARP Tax Assistance site. 

The IRS tax deadline is April 15 each year. You need to file your taxes on or before April 15 to receive your tax credit money without delay. But remember, the sooner you file your tax return, the sooner you’ll be able to get your money back. If you expect to receive a W-2 or other tax forms (like a 1099), make sure you wait until you have those with you before you start your tax return. If you think you need more time to file your taxes, you can request an extension from the IRS. You can request an extension by filling out Form 4868.

Even if you make little income and are not required to file a tax return, you likely qualify for tax credits. You are especially likely to qualify for tax credits if you have children. To claim this money, you need to file a tax return. Filing a tax return may also serve as useful documentation when applying for other benefits, like financial aid for college or a home loan.

If you had a job and taxes were withheld from your paycheck, you may benefit from filing a tax return even if you can be claimed on another person's tax return. When filing a return to claim any unused withholding, make sure to indicate you can be claimed on someone else's tax return. Generally, if you are between the ages of 19 and 24, you should file a tax return if you are not a full-time student and made over $4,300 in the tax year.

The Colorado earned income tax credit may be available if you meet the requirements for certain filers under age 25. Visit the expanded eligibility web page for more information about these requirements.

The earned income tax credit and the child tax credit are available to people who cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return. Most individuals who are full-time students between the ages of 19-24 are someone else's dependent (typically their parent or guardian) — unless they can prove that they pay for over half of their living expenses, including housing, food, medical/dental, and personal expenses.

It is possible to file your tax return on paper and mail it to the IRS. However, it may take much longer to process your tax return, so it will take much longer to get your cash back. The IRS strongly recommends that tax filers file their tax return online whenever possible. Taxpayers with smartphones can use the mobile application "IRS2Go" to file their federal taxes and the Revenue Online website on their mobile browsers to file their Colorado state taxes. 

Many Coloradans can access and use a computer for free at their local library. Use the directory of Colorado public libraries to find a library near you. We recommend contacting your local library for hours and details about their computers. Some libraries allow you to use their computers without an appointment, and others allow you to make a reservation.

Use the Colorado Virtual Library map to locate free Wi-Fi in your area.

You can learn more about the required documents and information that you should gather prior to filing your taxes on the IRS Getting Ready to File website. Remember, your tax situation may be different from last year. If this is not your first-time filing taxes, it may be helpful to have a copy of last year’s tax return. If you are married and filing jointly, plan to have your spouse present to sign your tax forms before you file.

Yes. You can generally file federal tax returns and claim tax refunds for up to three prior years.  You generally have up to four years to claim state refunds by filing a Colorado tax return.  These deadlines generally start on the original April 15 due date.

If you need an ITIN number and do not have one yet, you can visit the IRS website and learn how to apply for an ITIN. Be sure to apply as soon as possible so you have enough time to prepare your taxes after you receive your ITIN.

If you have an ITIN, or have used one in the past, you should check to see if your number needs to be renewed. If your ITIN has expired, you can renew it when you file your tax return. Learn more about renewing your ITIN on the IRS website about ITIN expiration.

The parent with custody for the greater part of the year is usually allowed to claim the child as a dependent.

No. Generally, the money you get back from the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit does not count as taxable income. This means that you do not need to pay any taxes on the amount of money you get back from tax credits.

If the IRS finds that your tax refund was incorrectly calculated, they may require you to repay the ineligible amount plus interest. There may be additional penalties and consequences if the IRS determines that you were reckless or intentionally disregarded the rules of claiming these credits.

No. Filing a tax return or receiving tax credit money will not impact any other benefits you might receive, like SNAP, WIC, TANF, or housing assistance. In most cases, tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child Tax Credit do not count as income in determining benefits eligibility. Any refunds you save do not count against any federally funded public benefit program for 12 months after the refund is received.