Age and income requirements for 2021 child tax credit score, explained

The elevated funds will put cash within the financial institution accounts of thousands and thousands of households this yr. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The overwhelming majority of households with kids will meet the requirements this yr to obtain cash from the federal enlargement of the child tax credit, which incorporates funds of as much as $3,600 per child between 2021 and 2022. Under new laws, half of that credit score shall be damaged into month-to-month funds from July to December of this yr. 

As is the case with issues tax-related, the child tax credit score guidelines can really feel somewhat… elaborate. To obtain the funds, your loved ones wants to usher in lower than a certain quantity of income, and your dependents must meet sure requirements. And there’s extra to find out about babies born in 2021. On prime of that, the advance monthly payments are optional, so mother and father can select as a substitute to obtain the complete payout subsequent yr. 

Meanwhile, the White House has launched an informational web page, and there’s an updated FAQ on the IRS web site. We’ll clarify the foundations beneath. Here’s the right way to sign up for the IRS tools to handle your child tax credit score checks and what you can expect next tax season should you obtain the advance funds this yr. We have up to date this story just lately. 

What are the age brackets and income limits for the child tax credit score?

The IRS appears at your loved ones’s adjusted gross income, or AGI, the ages of your dependents and a handful of different issues to find out should you meet the requirements for the child tax credit score funds. Here’s a fast have a look at household income and dependent age limits.

Income and age limits for the child tax credit score

Family upper-income qualification restrict Dependent age {qualifications}
Single filer — AGI beneath $240,000 Ages 5 and youthful — as much as $3,600
Head of family — AGI beneath $240,000 Ages 6 to 17 — as much as $3,000
Couple submitting collectively — AGI beneath $440,000 Age 18 — $500
Ages 19 to 24, full-time faculty college students — $500

Age {qualifications} for dependents

If your dependents are beneath the age of 6 on Dec. 31, you may declare as much as $3,600 per child so long as you meet the income requirements, that are listed beneath. That’s $1,600 greater than the $2,000 that oldsters have been capable of declare on their 2020 tax returns. 

This consists of newborns, even when they’re born later in 2021. Later this yr, mother and father shall be capable of replace the IRS with their new dependent info in an online portal to obtain the right advance funds this yr. Otherwise, mother and father can file a declare on their 2021 tax return subsequent yr.

If your dependents are age 6 or older on Dec. 31, you will qualify for as much as $3,000 per child over the following yr, assuming once more that you simply meet the income requirements. This consists of your dependents who’re 17 years outdated on Dec. 31. In prior years, mother and father may solely declare as much as $2,000 for every dependent age 16 and youthful.

You can even get cash for your older children, though it isn’t almost as a lot. You can declare as much as $500 for an 18-year-old, in addition to for full-time faculty college students ages 19 to 24. 

2021 child tax credit score age brackets

Ages 5 and youthful Up to $3,600 every child, with half of credit score as $300 month-to-month funds
Ages 6 to 17 Up to $3,000 every child, with half credit score as $250 month-to-month funds
Age 18 $500 one-time examine in 2022
Ages 19 to 24, full-time faculty college students $500 one-time examine in 2022

Income requirements per family

As lengthy as your adjusted gross income, or AGI, is $75,000 or much less, single taxpayer mother and father will qualify for the total child tax credit score quantity. Above $75,000, the quantity begins phasing out. At $240,000, single filers part out of the tax credit score completely.

If you are married and submitting collectively together with your partner, your AGI must be $150,000 or much less to qualify for the total child tax credit score quantity. At $440,000, {couples} will part out of the tax credit score completely.

The credit score phases out by $50 for each $1,000 of income over the edge quantities for all filers, in accordance with Joanna Powell, managing director at CBIZ

As a head of family, your AGI will must be $112,500 or much less to qualify for the total child tax credit score quantity. The quantity you would get begins phasing out in case your income is over that quantity, and by $240,000 you part out of the tax credit score.

2021 child tax credit score income limits

Who qualifies What the legislation says
Single filer An AGI of $75,000 or much less to qualify for the total quantity
Head of family An AGI of $112,500 or much less to qualify for the total quantity
Couple submitting collectively An AGI of $150,000 or much less to qualify for the total quantity
Nonfiler Will have to file a 2020 tax return to get the fee

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Information for non-tax-filing families 

Child tax credit payments will be automatic for those who filed their 2020 tax returns or claimed all their dependents on their 2019 tax return. If you don’t normally file taxes, because your income is too low or you don’t have a bank account or a permanent address, the IRS won’t know to send you a payment.

That means if you’re considered a nonfiler, you’ll need to act now to be able to receive the first round of payments this year. The IRS opened a new online portal for households that don’t traditionally file income taxes, so they can register their information. You’ll need a number of things on hand before starting the process, including a mailing address, email address, tax information on your dependents and bank account information. 

Or, if you were planning on filing a 2019 or 2020 return but just haven’t gotten around to it yet, the IRS said to do so as soon as possible so your most recent information is on file for determining your payments.

IRS letter informs qualifying families 

Earlier this month, the IRS started sending letters to 36 million families notifying them they may be eligible to receive monthly child tax credit payments, based on their federal income tax return from either 2019 or 2020. The IRS should also have details for eligible families that used an older IRS nonfilers tool to claim a stimulus check.

The IRS will soon send eligible families a second letter with a personalized estimate of their monthly payment. 


Some eligible families may opt to receive the full $3,600 per child in one single installment next year. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

More eligibility rules 

  • The child you’re claiming must live with you for at least six months out of the year.
  • You and your child must be US citizens, unlike mixed-status households. 
  • For married couples filing jointly, at least one spouse needs to have a Social Security number or an ITIN. 
  • The child must also have a Social Security number — a child with only an ATIN won’t qualify. (This includes adopted children.)
  • Parents who share custody of a child cannot both receive the tax credit.

Here’s what else to know about the 2021 child tax credit.

Important: The results here are based on our current knowledge of the law, but should be treated as broad estimates only. Consult a financial planner for a more personalized estimate.

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