The new child tax credit program will begin on Thursday. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Did you not get the first child tax credit cost final week? You is likely to be in the similar boat as some members of Reddit, who are reporting that though they qualify for the funds, they’re nonetheless ready for their first check. (If that is your state of affairs, this is what to do.) However, you could be in the group of familes that isn’t eligible for a cost. Here’s the way to check.

Up to 96% of famlies will qualify for the credit, however determining when you do and for how a lot can take some work. Qualifying households will get the total quantity of the credit if their incomes are beneath a set threshold. Then above the threshold, the quantity of the credit will start to part out till it reaches its cap — we’ll clarify beneath. To get the advantages for the 2021 tax yr, dependents need to be 17 or youthful by the finish of December. Adopted youngsters and infants born in 2021 could qualify too. 

Parents who are eligible will routinely get 50% of their 2021 child tax credit quantity via six advance month-to-month installments and may declare the different 50% on their taxes later. Or they get the choice of claiming 100% of the credit in 2022 in the event that they unenroll from the month-to-month cost program. We’ll break all of it down for you beneath. Here’s the way to enroll for the IRS instruments to handle your checks and the way the child tax credit may have an effect on your taxes subsequent yr. We have up to date this story just lately. 

What are the revenue and age caps for the 2021 child tax credit?

The IRS seems to be at your household’s adjusted gross revenue, or AGI, the ages of your dependents and a handful of different issues to find out when you meet the necessities for the child tax credit funds. Here’s a fast take a look at household revenue and dependent age limits.

Income and age caps for the child tax credit

Family higher revenue 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

What are the child tax credit age necessities for youngsters?

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 revenue necessities, that are listed beneath. That’s $1,600 greater than the $2,000 that oldsters had been in a position to declare on their 2020 tax returns. 

This contains newborns, even when they’re born later in 2021. Later this yr, mother and father will probably be in a position to replace the IRS with their new dependent info through an on-line portal to obtain the right advance funds this yr. Otherwise, mother and father can file a declare as a part of their 2021 tax return subsequent yr.

If your dependents are age 6 or older on Dec. 31, you may qualify for as much as $3,000 per child over the subsequent yr, assuming once more that you just meet the revenue necessities. This contains dependents who are 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 also can get cash for your older youngsters, 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 age brackets

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

What are the revenue necessities for households?

As lengthy as your adjusted gross revenue, or AGI, is $75,000 or much less, single-taxpayer households will qualify for the full child tax credit quantity. Above $75,000, the quantity begins phasing out. At $240,000, single filers part out of the tax credit fully.

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

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

As a head of family, your AGI will have to be $112,500 or much less to qualify for the full child tax credit quantity. The quantity you would get begins phasing out if your revenue is over that quantity, and by $240,000 you part out of the tax credit fully.

2021 child tax credit revenue limits

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

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Child tax credit: Everything we all know


Is the IRS letter solely for households who qualify? 

The IRS this summer season is sending letters to 36 million households notifying them they might be eligible to obtain month-to-month child tax credit funds, primarily based on their federal revenue tax return from both 2019 or 2020.

Can households who do not file taxes nonetheless get the funds?

Child tax credit funds will probably be automated for these who filed their 2020 tax returns or claimed all their dependents on their 2019 tax return. If you do not usually file taxes, as a result of your revenue is simply too low or you do not have a checking account or a everlasting deal with, the IRS will not know to ship you a cost.

That means if you are thought-about a nonfiler, you may have to act now to have the ability to obtain the first spherical of funds this yr. The IRS opened a new on-line portal for households that do not historically file revenue taxes, to allow them to register their info — it is also obtainable in Spanish. You’ll want a variety of issues available earlier than beginning the course of, together with a mailing deal with, an e-mail deal with, tax info on your dependents and checking account info. 

If you had been planning on submitting a 2019 or 2020 return however simply have not gotten round to it but, the IRS stated to take action as quickly as attainable so your most up-to-date info is on file for figuring out your funds.


Changes to the child tax credit this yr improve the quantity for low-income households. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

More child tax credit eligibility necessities you may have to know 

  • The child you are claiming should stay with you for not less than six months out of the yr.
  • You and your child should each be US residents, not like mixed-status households. 
  • For married {couples} submitting collectively, not less than one partner must have a Social Security quantity or an ITIN. 
  • The child should even have a Social Security quantity — a child with solely an ATIN will not qualify. (This contains adopted youngsters.)
  • Parents who share custody of a child can’t each obtain the tax credit.

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

Important: The outcomes listed below are primarily based on our present data of the regulation, however ought to be handled as broad estimates solely. Consult a monetary planner for a extra personalised estimate.

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