Child Tax Credit
The Child Tax Credit: What You Need to Know
The new Child Tax Credit is worth $3,000 per year, per child ages 6-17 and $3,600 per year, per child under 6 years old. It will be paid out in monthly payments, not once a year. If you have children under 18, you are likely eligible even if you do not usually file taxes or have low/no earnings.
You Are Eligible If:
- You are single and your income is under $75,000. Or, if you are single and file taxes as a head of household, your income must be under $112,500.
- You have a spouse and your combined income is under $150,000.
- Your child has a Social Security Number. You can file with an ITIN, but your child must have a SSN.
- If household income is above those thresholds, you will receive slightly smaller payments, depending on income.
To Get the Expanded Child Tax Credit
- File your taxes, even if you don’t file them normally. This will tell the IRS where to send your payment and how many children you take care of. Also, if you don’t file, you might miss out on other tax credits. To make an appointment for free tax preparation help, visit getthetaxfacts.org.
- If you have already filed your 2020 taxes, 2019 taxes, or filled out the IRS Non-filer tool in 2020 to get your stimulus payments: there’s nothing else you need to do!
- If you are not required to file taxes, we still encourage you to file a tax return to ensure you don't miss out on any other refundable tax credits you may be eligible for. However, the IRS just released a Non-Filer tool that you can also use to both sign up for the Child Tax Credit, and claim any missed stimulus payments. But filing for the child tax credit this way means you may miss out on other important tax credits like the Home Heating Credit.
Let's spread the word
Share these resources with other people in your community.
Child Tax Credit FAQs
Here are some answers to common questions and concerns
When will I start receiving the payments?
The IRS will begin sending monthly payments July 15. You will only receive half of your payments this year, so you will have to claim the rest on next year's taxes.
How much is the Child Tax Credit worth?
The expanded Child Tax Credit increases the maximum credit a family can receive from $2,000 per child per year to $3,000 per child, increasing to $3,600 for children under six. This means that if you have two children, aged 4 and 7, your credit will be worth $6,600 for the year. The overall credit is divided into monthly payments, so you can expect $250 per month for each child between 6 and 17, and $300 per month for each child under 6.
Will getting the Child Tax Credit reduce my benefits?
No, the Child Tax Credit does not count as income for federally-funded benefits, including SNAP.
I'm used to getting my refund at tax time. Does this mean I won't receive this money at tax time?
The way the Child Tax Credit is set up this year, most households will receive periodic payments through 2021, and a lump sum at tax time. Those who qualify will still receive their Earned Income Tax Credit at tax time as well.
I don't usually file taxes. What will I need to file taxes so I can get the Child Tax Credit?
An email address, ID, proof of income and/or benefits, and your child's Social Security Number.
What does "fully refundable" mean?
The Child Tax Credit is applied against the taxes you owe to the federal government, helping to offset any tax burden you might have. If you don't owe any taxes, this money is paid out to you as a refund. Fully refundable means you can receive the full amount of the credit as a refund.
Do I have to file taxes?
- If you filed your 2020 taxes, 2019 taxes, or entered your information into the IRS Non-filer tool for stimulus payments, the IRS already has your information on file and will begin sending out payments on July 15. Sit tight and wait for your payments.
- If you are single and your income was over $12,400 ($24,800 for a married couple) in 2020, you have to file your taxes to receive your Child Tax Credit. To get help filing your taxes, visit getthetaxfacts.org.
- If your earned income was below $12,400 ($24,800 for a married couple) in 2020, you will get the maximum amount of payments by filing your taxes. In addition to the child tax credit, you may also be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, Home Heating Credit and the Homestead Property Tax Credit. But you do not have to file your taxes to get your child tax credit - you can also fill out the IRS Non-filer tool to get your payments payments, and any stimulus payments you may have missed in 2020.
However, if you are able, we encourage everyone to file taxes, even if you are not required. Filing your taxes may also qualify you for other payments, like the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Will I owe taxes on the money I receive?
No, you will not owe taxes on this money. The Child Tax Credit payments are not income.
It is unlikely you would have to pay back the money you receive from the Child Tax Credit. If your family information and income has stayed the same since your last tax filing, you should receive the right amount this year and you will not have to pay anything back. But if your income grew a lot this year, like if it went above $112,000 for someone filing as head of household, you might get advance payments that are higher than you're entitled to. Or, if you had a child living with you last year who will no longer live with you most of this year.
Even if this applies to you, you are protected from having to repay anything if your income is below $40,000 if you are single or married filing separately, $50,000 if you are head of household, or $60,000 if you are married filing together. For more information, visit the IRS website.
Can parents who share custody of a child both get the Child Tax Credit?
No, only one parent can claim the credit for a child. The child must also live with you for at least 6 months out of the year.
How do I opt out of the monthly payments? Is there any benefit to doing so?
You can opt out of monthly payments by visiting IRS.gov/ChildTaxCredit and clicking “manage payments.” If you do that, you will receive your full tax credit when you file your taxes in 2022. You might decide to opt out if you prefer to receive a larger lump sum refund at tax time next year. You will receive the same amount of money if you accept monthly payments or opt out of the monthly payments and receive the refund as a lump sum.
How much money will I receive if my child is 5, turning 6 this year?
Your payment amounts are based on your child's age on Dec. 31, 2021. For example, if your child was 5 when you filed your 2020 taxes and turns 6 in November, your payment will be $250 each month this year.
How can parents without a social security number get an ITIN so they can claim the Child Tax Credit?
Parents who do not have a social security number will need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to claim the child tax credit, even if you do not file taxes. We encourage people to file taxes to be considered for other valuable tax credits, including the Child and Dependent Care Credit for child care that allows you to work or the American Opportunity Tax Credit for tuition or fees for postsecondary education.
To get an ITIN, you must fill out a W-7 form. Certified Acceptance Agents in Michigan can help you with this process; some charge for the service, and some do it for free.
Are DACA recipients eligible for the expanded Child Tax Credit?
Yes, qualifying residents, including DACA recipients, are eligible for the Child Tax Credit so long as the children being claimed in the household have a valid social security number. DACA recipients who are dependents of ITIN filers can also be claimed for the Child Tax Credit because they have valid social security numbers. See more information for DACA recipients filing taxes here.
- IRS Frequently Asked Questions on Child Tax Credit
- Fact Sheet (En Español / In Spanish) (باللغة العربية / In Arabic) (বাংলা ভাষায় / In Bengali)
- Social Media (En Español / In Spanish) (In Arabic / باللغة العربية) (In Bengali / বাংলা ভাষায়)
- United Way's free tax filing website and information on other tax credits
- IRS Free File
- More information on the Stimulus Checks
- Listening to SNAP Participants to Improve Access to the Expanded Child Tax Credit
About this page
This resource was created by Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan to help ensure that all Michiganders can access the child tax credit benefits they are eligible for.