What the child tax credit could mean for you

Learn more about how eligible families can now receive monthly payments of their 2021 child tax credit.

Did you know you may be eligible for monthly payments of up to $300 for each child in your family this year? Most families with children qualify for these advance child tax credit payments. They’re available through the IRS, even if you aren’t required to file taxes. And if you haven’t received yours yet, you may still have time.

By using the IRS’s non-filer tool, you can register for these payments if you haven’t already received the credit. And you can catch up on previous payments too. When you use the non-filer tool, the IRS may also determine if you’re eligible for the third stimulus payment. That stimulus payment could mean an additional $1,400 for each adult and $1,400 for each kid. Read on to learn more.

What is the child tax credit?

Families with qualifying children receive a tax credit when they claim them as dependents on their taxes, according to the federal government. And the child tax credit is providing eligible families with early and enhanced payments of that tax credit from the IRS.

The money is half of the child tax credit you’re expected to claim on your 2021 tax return, according to the IRS. For example, a married couple earning less than $150,000 with two kids under 5 could receive $7,200. Half of that—or $3,600—would be spread out in monthly payments through December 2021.

Payments began in July 2021, but if you haven’t received them yet, there may still be time—and you can receive payments from the previous months.

Families will receive the other half of the child tax credit after they file their 2021 taxes.

Who’s eligible for the child tax credit?

According to the IRS, families with qualifying children under 17 are eligible. The children could be your son, daughter, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister or descendants of them. They should also live with you for more than half of the year and be your dependent. But you should visit the IRS’s site to check eligibility

How much is the child tax credit?

Eligible families will generally receive six monthly payments of:

  • Up to $300 for qualifying children who are 5 and younger.
  • Up to $250 for qualifying children ages 6 through 17. 

The amount you’ll receive is based on information from your 2020 tax return if it’s been processed, the IRS says. If it hasn’t been processed, it’s based on your 2019 tax return.

If you’re eligible and haven’t gotten any payments yet, you can receive larger monthly payments to catch up for previous ones. Keep in mind, if your income is above a certain level, your payments may be less. 

How to receive the child tax credit

If you’ve filed your 2020 or 2019 tax return and are eligible, you generally don’t need to do anything else to receive the child tax credit. And you should’ve started receiving monthly payments in July 2021, the IRS says. If you haven’t filed yet, you can do it now to begin receiving payments.

But if you aren’t required to file a tax return, you can complete the non-filer tool to register for the child tax credit.

There may still be time to receive your advance child tax credit if you haven’t gotten it yet and are eligible. If you haven’t received your payments and believe you are eligible, you should visit the IRS’s website.

Claim Money You're Eligible For

Check out the IRS's non-filer tool to register for the advance child tax credit.

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