Child Tax Credit (CTC)

The one-year expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in the American Rescue Plan is perhaps the most far-reaching piece of family centered legislation to pass Congress in decades as it cuts child poverty by more than 40%. It creates monthly payments for nearly all working families. The purpose of this article is to help explain various aspects of the tax credit and provide links to families who have yet to receive payments.

Most families will receive monthly payments of either $250 per child ages 6 – 17 or $300 per child under age 6, starting July 15, 2021. Families will get the remaining money when they file their federal income tax return in 2022. It is estimated that about 90% of families with children will get this new tax relief automatically. IRS has planned distribution dates for the CTC checks for July 15, August 13, September 15, October 15, November 15, and December 15.

People who did not file either a 2019 or 2020 federal income tax form, or claim an Economic Impact Payment or Recovery Rebate Credit (stimulus checks) can use the IRS Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool to receive advance CTC payments. The tool or portal is available to help non tax-filers, low-income families, and other underserved groups. It was set up for people who typically don’t file tax returns.

A question often raised is whether the CTC will affect other government benefits (like SSI, SNAP, TANF, or WIC)? The answer, per the White House CTC page, reads: “No. Receiving Child Tax Credit payments is not considered income for any family.Therefore, it will not change the amount you receive in other Federal benefits. These Federal benefits include unemployment insurance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, SSDI, TANF, WIC, Section 8, or Public Housing.”

The new maximum child tax credit is available to taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income (AGI) of:

  • $75,000 or less for singles,
  • $112,500 or less for heads of household, and
  • $150,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return and qualified widows and widowers.

There is also a CTC Update Portal which can be used to: check if you’re enrolled to receive advance payments, provide or update bank account information, and to unenroll and stop getting monthly advance payments.

For more information visit: ChildTaxCredit.gov.

Download the Child Tax Credit Explainer (PDF).

IRS’ Advance Child Tax Credit Payments in 2021 page.

IRS’ CTC Non-filer Sign-up Tool.

IRS’ CTC Update Portal.

Get Your Child Tax Credit – a nonprofit’s page.

2021 CTC Outreach Resources – by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Author: Michael Swayze

A retired county welfare agency administrator, who combines social work and computer skills to share information on community resources via the Internet since 1995.