Home » Child tax credit payments: Here’s when the rest of your money will arrive

Child tax credit payments: Here’s when the rest of your money will arrive

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


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Gather up your important tax documents, because starting Jan. 24, you can file your tax return with the IRS. That means you’ll soon get any child tax credit money owed to you as a refund. Before tax season arrives, make sure you’ve received Letter 6419. It has details about your child tax credit money that you’ll need for your taxes. If you haven’t received that form yet, keep an eye out for it in the mail.

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

File your child tax credit letter with other tax documents

The IRS said it started sending out Letter 6419 to families in late December and will continue sending it 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 you might get with your 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 ages 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.


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What if you never got one or more child tax credit payments last year?

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 advance payments you received affect 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 get your child tax credit money if you had a newborn or adopted since last filing your taxes

If you had a baby by the end of December — or adopted one — you’ll be eligible for up to $3,600 for that child when you file your taxes. That includes back pay 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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What’s the latest on enhanced child tax credit checks this year?

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. 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 November. However, Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said he wouldn’t support the bill unless a work requirement for parents is added. His vote could determine the outcome of the payments since the bill needs the support of all 50 Democrats to pass the evenly divided Senate.

In a 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.