The second round of the expanded child-tax credit payments are set to hit the bank accounts and mailboxes of 35 million families this week or early next, with checks totaling up to $300 per eligible child.
Under the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan, the existing child-tax credit — which provides up to $2,000 per qualifying dependent as a credit at the end of the year — was expanded to pay out more money per child and to distribute up to half of the credit to families as advance monthly payments.
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The expansion also makes credits eligible for children who are 17 years old or who turn 17 by the end of 2021. The regular tax credit covers only children under 17.
Families who qualify for the expanded credit are receiving up to $3,600 per child under age 6, and up to $3,000 per child from ages 6 through 17, spread out over every month from July through December 2021.
Advance payments will total up to $300 or $250 per month for each child, respectively. The expansion phases out by $50 for every $1,000 in income for single taxpayers earning more than $75,000 and married taxpayers (filing jointly) who make more than $150,000.
The first advance payment went out last month (July 15), and the remaining checks are set to be distributed on Aug. 13, Sept. 15, Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec. 15.
While the advance payments are providing cash directly to families, the IRS also offered the choice (the deadline passed earlier this month) to opt out of these checks and instead claim the credit as a lump sum on 2021 tax returns.
How to get your child-tax credit
If you filed a tax return for 2020 or 2019, you likely don’t need to do anything to claim the credit and should have already received one advance payment in July.
If something seems awry, or if you need to change your direct deposit information, log onto the Child Tax Credit Update Portal on IRS.gov to view what’s on file.