But while millions of families received payments of up to $300 per child each month since July, some eligible families have yet to see a penny. Others haven’t received all of the money.
Those qualifying parents may instead wind up getting some or all of the child tax credit next year as a single payment after they file their 2021 federal tax return.
To receive the funds, these individuals should claim the entire amount or any missing payments on their 2021 federal tax return when they file next year, the IRS said in a news release.
“This includes families who don’t normally need to file a return,” the release stated.
On top of any missing installments, the lump-sum payment will also contain the last half of the expanded child tax credit. Parents who have already received all monthly payments will still be eligible for the second half of their credit.
Under the American Rescue Plan approved this year, half of the child tax credit was paid in advance to qualifying families who submitted 2019 or 2020 federal income tax returns, or who signed up on the IRS’s non-filers tool online.
To date, the federal government has sent out more than 200 million payments worth at least $93 billion total, according to the IRS. The money was distributed on July 15, Aug. 13, Sept. 15, Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec. 15.
All eligible households — even those who have been receiving payments since they began in July — must claim the child tax credit on their 2021 tax return in order to receive the rest of the funds.
“Families who received advance payments will need to file a 2021 tax return and compare the advance Child Tax Credit payments they received in 2021 with the amount of the Child Tax Credit they can properly claim on their 2021 tax return,” the news release noted.
The IRS says it is sending out a letter next month with information that will help taxpayers reconcile the advance tax relief.
For the entire year, the expanded credits work out to as much as $3,600 for each child under the age of 6, and as much as $3,000 per child 6 to 17 years old.
The previous child tax credit capped out at $2,000 for the entire year and did not include those aged 17.