Child Tax Credit FAQs for Your 2021 Tax Return

Child Tax Credit FAQs for Your 2021 Tax Return

Parents have lots of questions about how to report the child tax credit and last year’s monthly payments on their tax return – and we have answers.

The IRS’s 2022 tax filing season has begun. The tax agency started accepting individual tax returns for the 2021 tax year on January 24. And the filing deadline for most individual returns is April 18. When you prepare your return, or alternatively, gather your records to take to your accountant or other paid return preparer, you’ll want to keep in mind the tax changes that applied for 2021…and how they should be reported on your return. One of the most significant changes for 2021 was to the child tax credit, which is claimed by tens of millions of parents every year.

The child tax credit for the 2021 tax year is bigger and better than ever, when compared to 2020. The credit amount was significantly increased, and the IRS made monthly advance payments to qualifying families from .

The 2021 child tax credit changes are complicated and don’t help everyone. For instance, there are two ways in which the credit can be reduced for upper-income families. That means some parents don’t qualify for a larger credit and, as before, some won’t receive any credit at all. More children qualify for the credit on 2021 returns. And, this year, when you file your 2021 tax return, you’ll have to reconcile the advance payments you received with the actual child tax credit you’re entitled to claim.

It’s all enough to make your head spin. But don’t worry – we have answers to a lot of the questions parents are asking about the 2021 child credit, including how to report the credit and any advance payments they got on their 2021 return. Once you read through the FAQs below, you should feel more at ease about the credit and filling out your Form 1040.

2020 Child Tax Credit

Answer: For 2020 tax returns that individuals filed last year, the child tax credit was worth $2,000 per kid under the age of 17 claimed as a dependent on your return. The child had to be related to you and generally live with you for at least six months during the year. He or she also had to be a citizen, national or resident alien of the United States and have a Social Security number. You had to put the child’s name, date of birth and SSN on the return, too.

The credit began to phase out if your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) was above $400,000 on a joint return, navigate here or over $200,000 on a single or head-of-household return. Once you reached the $400,000 or $200,000 modified AGI threshold, the credit amount was reduced by $50 for each $1,000 (or fraction thereof) of AGI over the applicable threshold amount. Modified AGI was the AGI shown on Line 11 of your 2020 Form 1040, plus the foreign earned income exclusion, foreign housing exclusion, and amounts excluded from gross income because they were received from sources in Puerto Rico or American Samoa.

Up to $1,400 of the child credit was refundable for some lower-income individuals with children. However, you also had to have at least $2,500 of earned income to get a refund.

Changes Made for 2021

Answer: The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 temporarily expanded the child tax credit for 2021 only. First, the law allows 17-year-old children to qualify for the credit. Second, it increases the credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 per child under age 6) for many families. Third, it makes the credit fully refundable for families who lived in the U.S. for more than six months during 2021 and removes the $2,500 earnings floor. Fourth, it required half of the credit to be paid in advance by having the IRS send monthly payments to families from .