October 23, 2021

PC TECH THERAPY

PC Tech Therapy Blog by Daniyal Computer

Child tax credit 2021: Does each kid qualify for $300 a month? We’ll explain

5 min read


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Parents with children under the age of 6 could get up to $300 per month.  


Angela Lang/CNET

Eligible parents received the first advance child tax credit payment on Thursday, with more partial installments being sent out through the end of 2021. Households with a child under age 6 get a maximum of $300 a month, and older dependents qualify for a maximum of $250 a month. After that, the remaining portion of the child tax credit is paid out in the 2022 tax season. There’s even a chance that parents with dependents between the ages of 18 and 24 may get the money during tax time next year.  

Some 35 million families received the advanced money for July. If you got a check but you’re not sure what the rest of the payments will amount to, you can calculate the estimated total. We can also help you check your eligibility, explain how to use the IRS portals and give you some clues about income requirements. And we can explain how to unenroll from the advance payments if you want to claim the bulk of the remaining credit in 2022 instead.

The expanded child tax credit was enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan in March. The expansion is temporary, so the same amount of money may not be available in the future. However, another boost to families is the increased amount they can claim in child care expenses this year — up to $16,000. Also, here’s an update on the chances of a fourth stimulus check in 2021. This story was recently updated.

How much do children under 17 qualify for?

If you have dependents who are 17 years of age or younger, they can each count toward the new child tax credit. However, the amount they’re eligible for depends on their age. Kids between the ages of 6 and 17 will count for up to $3,000 each. Kids who are under the age of 6 can count for up to $3,600 each.

Families won’t receive the full amount of the credit on July 15, but a partial one. The initial payment next month is an advance payment of either $250 or $300, depending on the age of the child (see chart below). The total of the 2021 monthly installments will equal half the amount of the credit, with the other half of the credit coming next year during tax time. You can see a timeline of the payments and more information here

2021 child tax credit age brackets

Ages 5 and younger Up to $3,600 each child, with half of credit as $300 monthly payments
Ages 6 to 17 Up to $3,000 each child, with half of credit as $250 monthly payments
Age 18 $500 one-time check in 2022
Ages 19 to 24, full-time college students $500 one-time check in 2022


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How much do dependents between 18 and 24 qualify for?

If you have 18-year-old dependents, they can qualify for up to $500 each toward the child tax credit amount you’ll receive. If you have a dependent between the ages of 19 and 24 who is attending college full-time, they can also qualify for up to $500 each toward your total payment. That payment will come when you file your taxes in 2022. 

How much does each newborn qualify for?

If you’re expecting a baby before the end of 2021, the newborn will also qualify for up to $3,600. This includes children who are adopted if they’re US citizens (more below). You’ll be able to use the IRS Update Portal once that specific feature is available later in the summer — or you can claim the tax credit when you file your 2021 tax return next year. 

Are there requirements for dependents with disabilities?

Children with disabilities can qualify for the child and dependent care credit separately from the child tax credit. You may be able to claim this credit if you paid expenses for the care of a qualifying dependent to enable you to work, per the IRS. The child tax credit would apply similarly to children with disabilities.

What are the rules for parents with shared custody?

“Double-dipping” benefits for the same child worked for the first two stimulus checks, where a loophole entitled unmarried parents who share custody to both claim the child as a dependent in a specific situation. That isn’t the case with the 2021 child tax credit. In fact, overpayment could result in you being asked to return the money to the IRS.

Do exceptions exist for dependents living with you half the year? 

If you’re claiming the new child tax credit for your child, note that the child must live with you at least six months out of the year. There are exceptions to this rule, though, including temporary absences. According to the IRS, “A person is considered to have lived with you during periods of time when one of you, or both, are temporarily absent due to special circumstances,” including illness, education, business, vacation and military service.

Also, a newborn child born later in 2021 is included in the exception and will be considered as living with you for the entire year. However, the IRS will be working off the 2020 tax return, which will not have children born in 2021 listed, so remember to update your information in the IRS’ Update Portal when you’re able to later in the summer.


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Are there any other rules for dependents?

If your child isn’t a US citizen and doesn’t have a Social Security number, there’s no way around this one: They don’t qualify. When you file your individual income tax return (Form 1040), you’re required to list your dependents and their Social Security numbers when you’re claiming them for the child tax credit. 

This includes adopted children. An adopted child who isn’t a US citizen and has an ATIN or ITIN (adopted/individual taxpayer identification number) won’t qualify for the child tax credit, per the IRS. “The child must have an SSN to be a qualifying child eligible for the child tax credit.”

This is unlike the third stimulus check, where mixed-status households could receive a check and only one member of the household needed to have a Social Security number.

Here’s more information about the 2021 child tax credit and details on qualifications for parents to receive the payments.



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