As part of the child tax credit expansion, parents who claimed a child tax credit (CTC) on recent tax returns were able to receive their 2021 credit sooner from the IRS, as long as they qualified.
These payments were a key provision in the American Rescue Plan, which was legislation meant to help taxpayers recover financially from the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you claimed your child tax credit on your 2019 or 2020 return, no action was required to receive the payments, which would amount to 50% of the estimated child tax credit you would claim, and was automatically deposited into your bank account. The other half could be claimed when filing for your 2021 income tax return.
These payments began in July and continued every month until December 2021 based on information provided in your 2019 and 2020 tax returns.
If you’re eligible but did not receive your child tax credit payments, you can claim the full amount when filing your 2021 tax return.
Individuals with a qualifying child are eligible to receive the advance child tax credit. A qualifying child is someone 17 years old or under and who meets the following criteria:
- The child is the taxpayer’s own child, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, or a descendant.
- The child doesn’t give more than half of their support during 2021.
- The child lives with the taxpayer for more than half of the 2021 tax year.
- The child is claimed as a dependant on the taxpayer's tax return.
- The child is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or resident alien.
To qualify for the advance child tax credit, you or your spouse must have had your primary residence in one of the 50 U.S. states or the District of Columbia if married and filing a joint return.
If you’re married and filing a joint return, you must also have:
- Filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return and claimed the CTC on this return or
- Added this information in 2020 to receive the stimulus payments with the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool or
- Supplied the information in 2021 with the Non-Filer: Submit Your Information tool
- You and your spouse must have met the income threshold
Letter 6419 was sent to eligible taxpayers and included information about the 2021 advance child tax credit payments along with the number of qualifying children used to calculate the total amount.
This letter from the IRS aims to help taxpayers compare and receive this child tax credit. It should be kept with their tax records.
If your family received advance payments, you’ll need to file a 2021 tax return and compare the advance payments received with the child tax credit amount you can claim for 2021.
CTC Update Portal
To find more information about your advance child tax credit payments, you can use the IRS’s online portal tool which allows you to view records of your eligibility for CTC payments, bank account, mailing address, and processed payments.
This portal cannot be used for submitting any tax filing information.
If you don’t have an IRS username or account, you only need your photo identification to get started.
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