Child tax credit payments: Will you get $1,800 more this year?

Hundred-dollar bills fanned out
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Hundred-dollar bills fanned out

December’s disbursement was the final advance child tax credit payment.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Now that all six scheduled monthly child tax credit payments have gone out, only one payment is left. That’s the money you’ll receive when you file your tax return this year. You should soon receive a letter in the mail from the IRS with details about your child tax credit that you’ll need to document on your taxes — it’ll be marked Letter 6419.

Filing your taxes will give you a chance to claim any child tax credit money you didn’t receive in 2021 — for instance, if you opted out or if you had a baby later in the year. The IRS letter will tell you how much money you received in 2021 and the number of qualifying dependents used to calculate the payment amounts to compare with your current household situation.

After the second half of the payment goes out, you may be wondering what comes next and whether Congress will eventually reauthorize the payments. We’ll explain the latest on the enhanced child tax credit payments. We’ll also tell you what to expect when you file your taxes this year. This story is updated regularly.

Keep an eye out for the child tax credit letter in the mail

The IRS said it started sending out Letter 6419 to families in late December and will continue sending through January. If you haven’t received the letter yet, keep an eye on your mailbox because you’ll need it when you file your taxes this year. The note contains important information about your child tax credit payments that you’ll need to double-check for accuracy — for instance, the number of dependents used to determine the amount of money you get.

How much child tax credit money will you get with your IRS tax refund this year?

If you and your family meet the income eligibility requirements and you received each payment between July and December last year, you can expect to receive up to $1,800 for each child age 5 and younger, or up to $1,500 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17, when you file your 2021 taxes.

If you opted out of receiving payments before the first check went out, you’ll get the full amount you qualify for at once — up to $3,600 per child under 6 and $3,000 per child 6-17. Any payments you missed due to IRS errors or because you unenrolled should be included with your tax refund.

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If you opted out of advance payments, you could receive $3,600 per child when you file 2021 taxes.


Sarah Tew/CNET

What if you’re missing a payment from one of the months?

If you’re missing money from one of the previous checks due to an IRS error or outdated information, you can either wait for the issue to be resolved when you file your taxes or you can file a payment trace with the IRS. Before you do that, track your check to make sure it’s not already on the way.

Note that if you gained a dependent since you last filed taxes, the IRS wouldn’t have that information on file. If that’s your case, you won’t get any money until you file your taxes.

Will the monthly payments you received in 2021 impact your taxes this year?

The child tax credit payments you got this year could potentially affect your taxes (for better or worse). Here’s how:

  • You received an overpayment and the IRS didn’t adjust the amount on later payments. You’ll have to pay this back.
  • You received payments you didn’t qualify for. You’ll have to pay the IRS back.
  • Your income changed, and you didn’t report it to the IRS. This could result in a larger or smaller tax refund or you owing the IRS, depending on if your income was higher or lower than what the IRS used to calculate your payment.
  • You opted out of the payments last year, so your payout will be larger this year.
  • You received money for a child who turned 18 last year. You may have to pay that money back.
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Your taxes could be affected by the child tax credit payments.


Sarah Tew/CNET

How to claim your child tax credit money if you had a baby in December

If you had a baby in December — or adopted one — you’ll be eligible for up to $3,600 for that child when you file your taxes. That includes backpay for the July through December advance payments and the chunk coming with your refund.

You should get that money when you claim your child on your tax return, which will let the IRS know about your household changes. 

For more information, here’s how to calculate how much child tax credit money you should get, how to use the IRS portals to update your household details and how to contact the IRS about child tax credit questions.


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Will the IRS send more monthly child tax credit checks in 2022?

To date, the enhanced monthly child tax credit checks have expired and will revert back to the original amount unless a vote is made to extend the payments. While the House of Representatives passed an extension of the child tax credit increase and advance payments when it ratified the Build Back Better bill in NovemberSen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said he wouldn’t support the bill. His vote could determine the outcome of the payments since the bill needed the support of all 50 Democrats to pass the evenly divided Senate.

In his letter to senators, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised a vote on Build Back Better in early January 2022. We’ll update this story as new information develops.

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