Advance Child Tax Credit Eligibility 2021

If your income was tax-exempt because of a combat deployment, you’re eligible for the tax credit as long as you provide more than half the support for a qualified dependent. Homeless, unemployed, newly employed or newly-enlisted individuals making less than the reportable income threshold can also collect the tax credit. 
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Military families and individuals may be eligible for up to $1,800 in federal child tax credits, even if they didn’t file taxes in 2019 or 2020, according to the Internal Revenue Service. 

If you already applied for the Child Tax Credit on your income taxes in the past, you may already be receiving half the Child Tax Credit’s total — up to $1,800 for children ages five and younger and up to $1,500 for children ages six through 17. 

The advance payments are part of the federal coronavirus response approved in March with the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.  

If you didn’t file a 2020 or 2019 tax return, there’s still time to get Advance Child Tax Credits payments.  Sign up on the IRS website by Nov. 15.

If you’re eligible for the tax credit and miss the deadline to sign up, you can still claim the full credit of up to $3,600 per child when you file your 2021 taxes next year.

When Are Advance Child Tax Credits Being Distributed?

For the 2021 tax year, the Child Tax Credit increased from $2,000 per qualifying child to:

  • $3,600 for children ages 5 and younger at the end of 2021
  • $3,000 for children ages 6 through 17 at the end of 2021

Monthly Advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments of $250 and $300 started in July and ended in December. 

About $15 billion in Advance CTC payments in September went to 35 million families, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. Treasury Department. Future Advance CTC payments are scheduled for Nov. 15 and Dec. 15. 

Can I Sign Up for Advance Child Tax Credits? 

If you didn’t file a 2019 or 2020 federal tax return, you can still  receive advance child tax credit payments.

If your income was tax-exempt because of a combat deployment, you’re eligible for the tax credit as long as you provide more than half the support for a qualified dependent. Homeless, unemployed, newly employed or newly-enlisted individuals making less than the reportable income threshold can also collect the tax credit. 

Eligible parents or guardians must provide half the support for a child, stepchild, sibling (including step-siblings and half-siblings), grandchild, niece or nephew or foster child who is under age 18 until Jan. 1, 2022. 

The filer (a U.S. citizen, national or resident alien) – or their spouse, if married and filing a joint return – must maintain residence in the United States for more than half the year.

Determine your eligibility and file a simplified tax return to get payments on the IRS’ Advance CTC 2021 page

By signing up, you may also be considered for third round Economic Impact Payments of up to $1,400 per person, the IRS said. Or, you may claim the Recovery Rebate Credit from the first two rounds of Economic Impact Payments you may have missed.

How to Make Change or Unenroll from Advance Child Tax Credit Payments 

To get future Advance CTC payments by direct deposit, you can make changes using the IRS’ Child Tax Credit Update Portal

If you no longer qualify for the payments, you can stop them by unenrolling. Married couples must both unenroll or one spouse might still receive payments. 

You may unenroll for several reasons, including expecting your taxes to be more than your refund next year. 

To avoid owing the IRS, claim the credit when filing your 2021 tax return instead. 

For more on COVID-19-related tax relief, visit IRS.gov/coronavirus.

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About Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is a contributing writer for The Military Wallet. He is the proud son of a U.S. Air Force service member who served active duty, Reserve and as a DoD civilian for nearly 40 years. As a journalist, Rick has worked as an editor, managing editor, staff writer and reporter, copy editor and photographer for newspapers, magazines and broadcast/digital media outlets in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and New Hampshire. A Ball State University graduate, he is currently principal of Pinewood Communications.

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