The latest child tax credit questions, answered. Here’s what we know

The subsequent child tax credit test shall be disbursed on Aug. 13. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Last week, the IRS and the Department of the Treasury despatched over $15 billion to families that qualify for the expanded child tax credit, impacting almost 60 million youngsters. Eligible dad and mom obtained as much as $300 a month for every child underneath age 6, and as much as $250 a month for every child ages 6 to 17 — by means of direct deposit or mail. If you’ve dependents between the ages of 18 and 24 you will have to attend till tax time to get one lump sum. Advance funds will proceed by means of December, with the subsequent test being disbursed in three weeks’ time. 

If you bought your first fee (or are ready nonetheless ready for it to reach by mail), you may nonetheless have questions about the money, together with for those who received the correct amount. We’ve been protecting all of the bases that will help you determine for those who ought to opt out of the month-to-month fee program, how the credit will affect your 2022 taxes and methods to handle your data and fee historical past by means of the net IRS portals

Feeling careworn by child tax credit details and figures? This FAQ ought to assist. We’ve additionally compiled some data on how parents might want to use the money and methods to declare as much as $16,000 more for child care costs, rather more than you possibly can in earlier years. This story is up to date on a frequent foundation.

When will the subsequent child tax credit test be despatched?

You will not get all the child tax credit cash this 12 months. You’ll get half of the cash in month-to-month funds, and the remainder in 2022 whenever you file your taxes. Unless you inform the IRS you need to unenroll from the advance monthly payments to get one lump sum subsequent 12 months. The subsequent test shall be disbursed on Aug. 13. 

So in different phrases, your largest fee arrives subsequent 12 months — as much as $1,800 per child. Until then, you get six smaller funds this 12 months to begin utilizing immediately. The thought is to convey you cash sooner to fulfill bills like lease, meals and daycare, which is why the checks are “advance payments” this 12 months.

Child tax credit fee schedule

Monthly Maximum fee per child 5 and youthful Maximum fee per child; 6 to 17
July 15: First 2021 test $300 $250
Aug. 13 $300 $250
Sept. 15 $300 $250
Oct. 15 $300 $250
Nov. 15 $300 $250
Dec. 15: Last 2021 test $300 $250
April 2022: Second half of fee $1,800 $1,500

Why ought to I decide out of the advance month-to-month funds?

Advance funds are non-compulsory, and despite the fact that the vast majority of US households are eligible many nonetheless do not qualify. If you are undecided that you simply qualify you might have to decide out to keep away from repaying the IRS. The subsequent deadline to decide out is Aug. 2, however you should utilize the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal on-line anytime between now and December to unenroll. You could wish to unenroll for those who do not meet revenue or different eligibility necessities. 

To cease advance checks, the IRS says you could unenroll three days earlier than the primary Thursday of the next month. See the chart under for deadlines. Once you unenroll on this 12 months’s advance funds, you possibly can’t but reenroll, although the IRS says it should make a re-enrollment possibility out there later. Also be aware that for {couples} who’re married and submitting collectively, every guardian should unenroll individually. It is just too late to decide out of the July fee, however you possibly can unenroll for the remainder of the month-to-month funds. 

Child tax credit fee unenrollment dates

Payment month Unenrollment deadline Payment date
July June 28 July 15
August Aug. 2 Aug. 13
September Aug. 30 Sept. 15
October Oct. 4 Oct. 15
November Nov. 1 Nov. 15
December Nov. 29 Dec. 15

What are the IRS child tax credit on-line portals for? 

In June, the IRS opened more online tools and portals. The first portal is for folks not normally required to file an revenue tax return, together with low-income households. And the Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant software — out there in English and now in Spanish — helps households rapidly decide whether or not they qualify. 

The latest Child Tax Credit Update Portal at present lets households see their eligibility, handle their funds and unenroll from the advance month-to-month funds. Parents may also replace their direct deposit data utilizing the portal. In the approaching months, it should enable households to replace different data if their circumstances modified — for instance, if a brand new child has arrived or will arrive in 2021 and is not mirrored on a 2020 tax return. You’ll additionally have the ability to replace your mailing tackle, marital standing, revenue or dependents to have essentially the most up-to-date eligibility data. 

This helpful IRS PDF additionally describes what the portals do. 

Does my household earn an excessive amount of to qualify?

Income limits decide how a lot you’ll obtain and for those who even qualify, although there isn’t any restrict on the variety of youngsters you possibly can obtain credit for so long as you are eligible. 

Single filers incomes lower than $75,000 per 12 months, heads of family incomes lower than $112,500 per 12 months and married {couples} incomes lower than $150,000 a 12 months shall be eligible for the full quantity. 

The quantity you will get will then section out for higher incomes. Your child tax credit funds will section out by $50 for each $1,000 of revenue over these threshold quantities, in response to Joanna Powell, managing director and authorized monetary planner at CBIZ. In different phrases, your loved ones may nonetheless obtain some cash above these revenue limits, nevertheless it will not be for the utmost fee. 

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Child tax credit: Everything we know


How much money can each child qualify for? 

How the child tax credit payments will be divided between 2021 and 2022 might be confusing. For each qualifying child age 5 and younger, up to $1,800 (half the total) will come in six $300 monthly payments this year. For each kid between the ages of 6 and 17, up to $1,500 will come as $250 monthly payments six times this year. 

The IRS bases your child’s eligibility on their age on Dec. 31, 2021, so a 5-year-old child turning 6 in 2021 will qualify for a maximum of $250 per month. For both age groups, the rest of the payment will come with your 2021 tax refund when you claim the remainder of the credit in 2022. 

If you have a dependent who is 18 years old, they can qualify for $500 each. Dependents between the ages of 19 and 24 may qualify as well, but they must be enrolled in college full time. Here’s more on the financial details for qualified dependents

2021 child tax credit maximum payments

Ages 5 and younger Up to $3,600, with half as $300 advance monthly payments
Ages 6 to 17 Up to $3,000, with half as $250 advance monthly payments
Age 18 $500 one-time check
Ages 19 and 24, full-time college students $500 one-time check

Do newborns qualify for advance child tax credit payments?

If you have a baby in 2021, your newborn will count toward the child tax credit payment of $3,600. Children who are adopted can also qualify if they’re US citizens. You’ll be able to update the IRS on a new dependent once that aspect of the Update Portal is available. 

What if I don’t receive a payment when it’s scheduled?

One thing to keep in mind is that the IRS is targeting the payment dates (see above). If you have direct deposit set up with the IRS, you might see a pending payment before the actual closing date. That means you might not be able to access the money right away, but that it’s in process.

It could take longer for your payment to arrive if you’re receiving the check by mail. If enough time has passed and you’re concerned there may be a problem, you can use the IRS Update Portal to correct your direct deposit information. You can also file an IRS payment trace if you’re worried. Check here for more information about missing payments

What if the IRS sends an overpayment? Will I pay it back?

Since the IRS uses your 2019 or 2020 tax return, your family may not qualify for the child tax credit payment when you file your 2021 tax return in 2022. In this case, you may have to repay the IRS some or all of the credit. The child tax credit rules aren’t as flexible as the stimulus check rules regarding overpayment. One example of when this would happen is if you and the other parent of your child (who is not your spouse) were both paid for the child tax credit for the same dependent.

To avoid this tax inconvenience, make sure all your information is updated before the payments start arriving. The Update Portal will let you make adjustments in the coming months to verify your new income and marital status. 

What if I don’t file taxes? Can I still get a payment?

Payments will be automatic for those who filed their 2020 tax returns by the May 17 deadline (or those who claimed all dependents on a 2019 tax return). Parents who didn’t file taxes should use the new IRS tool, called the “Non-filer Sign-up tool,” to get their money, even if you’re not usually required to file. This will let the IRS know your income level and how many dependents are in your household who count toward the child tax credit benefits. 

You could also file a tax return to get the full monthly child tax credit payment you’re owed. 


You’ll get the other half your total child tax credit payment next year with your tax refund. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

If I have joint custody of a child, how do payments work?

For the first two stimulus checks, some parents who shared custody of a child but weren’t married to each other were entitled to each claim money for the same child. That was only if they alternated years for claiming the dependent — in other words, if one parent claimed the child on their taxes in odd years and the other claimed the child on their taxes in even years.

This is no longer allowed for the third check, and we’re told it won’t work that way for the child tax credit payments either. Here’s what we know so far about the child tax credit and shared custody situations.

If the child switches homes this year, the parents will need to agree on who will claim the child on their taxes this year. The parent that files the child and receives the child tax credit payments will need to fill out Form 8332 and include it with the tax return. If you don’t qualify or want to get the money in one lump sum, you can also opt out of early payments. Remember, if you’re not eligible and receive the money, you may have to pay the IRS back during tax time. 

Will advance child tax credit payments impact my taxes next year? 

If you’re eligible for advance payments and choose to get the extra cash this year, you’ll receive the second half of your total on your taxes next year. You’ll need the total amount of child tax credit money received in 2021 to compare it to how much you can claim. The IRS will send a letter of your personalized estimate (you’ll need it for your 2021 tax return). You may have to repay the IRS if you got more than you were supposed to. 

On the other hand, if you opted out of early child tax credit payments you’ll get the money in one lump sum. Parents who don’t qualify for the extra cash (for example, having a higher income) may be eligible for the $2,000 child tax credit refund.

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