The Child Tax Credit and Payments to Parents and Caregivers

Monthly Advance Payments Begin July 15, 2021

Updated on July 14, 2021, and originally posted June 20, 2021, by the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Father sits with daughter on couch

If you are a par­ent or care­giv­er who has filed tax­es before, you may already be famil­iar with the child tax cred­it, which most par­ents claim on their annu­al income tax return. For years, it has pro­vid­ed an after-the-fact cred­it for fam­i­lies with children.

What’s new is that from July through Decem­ber 2021, for most par­ents, half of your cred­it is being advanced to you dur­ing the year in the form of direct bank account pay­ments, so you don’t have to wait until it’s time to file your tax­es to make use of these resources to pro­vide for you and your fam­i­ly. This is the advance” child tax cred­it you might have heard about in the news. You’ll still get the oth­er half of your cred­it the usu­al way, as part of fil­ing your fed­er­al tax­es next April. The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion has a 20-year his­to­ry of bipar­ti­san advo­ca­cy for expand­ing the cred­it to help fam­i­lies meet basic needs for their kids.

When Did Pay­ments Start? How Much Are They For?

The pay­ments began July 15, 2021. You’ll receive one per month. For each of your qual­i­fy­ing chil­dren age 5 or younger, most par­ents were sched­uled to receive $300 per month in July, August, Sep­tem­ber, Octo­ber, Novem­ber and Decem­ber for a total of $1,800. For each of your qual­i­fy­ing chil­dren ages 6 to 17, most par­ents were sched­uled to receive $250 each month for a total of $1,500. The ben­e­fit is time-lim­it­ed, but in the 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, the Foun­da­tion urged pol­i­cy­mak­ers to make the cred­it permanent.

How Do I Receive These Pay­ments to Pro­vide for My Family?

Eli­gi­bil­i­ty is based on last year’s tax infor­ma­tion and almost all par­ents are eli­gi­ble. If the IRS already has your infor­ma­tion on file from when you’ve received tax refunds or stim­u­lus pay­ments, the advance child tax cred­it should be appear­ing in your account auto­mat­i­cal­ly. If it isn’t, vis­it child​tax​cred​it​.gov to find out what to do next.

There’s a spe­cial web­site for par­ents and care­givers who are eli­gi­ble, but who did not file tax­es last year. It’s called the Non-fil­er Sign-up Tool.

Why Are These Pay­ments Being Made?

It costs almost a quar­ter mil­lion dol­lars to raise one child in the Unit­ed States from birth to age 18. And the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic brought new uncer­tain­ty and insta­bil­i­ty to par­ents try­ing to make ends meet. Amer­i­ca doesn’t recov­er unless Amer­i­can fam­i­lies recov­er, so the advance child tax cred­it was includ­ed in the Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan as one tool to pro­vide fam­i­lies with the sup­port they need to care for their chil­dren and to pow­er an equi­table eco­nom­ic recovery.

Where Can I Learn More?

Vis­it the U.S. government’s offi­cial child tax cred­it site for more infor­ma­tion: child​tax​cred​it​.gov.

More Infor­ma­tion About the Child Tax Credit

The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion has strong­ly advo­cat­ed for decades for the fed­er­al child tax cred­it as a pol­i­cy tool to ensure chil­dren and fam­i­lies can thrive. The Foun­da­tion has dis­cussed the ben­e­fits of the child tax cred­it in pre­vi­ous edi­tions of the Data Book and includ­ed the expan­sion of the cred­it as its first rec­om­men­da­tion in a key­stone report on two-gen­er­a­tion approach­es to com­bat­ing child poverty.

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