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The Child Tax Credit: Updated

The Child Tax Credit is a financial relief to families struggling to keep up with childcare costs. But did you know that, starting in 2021, the Child Tax Credit expanded?

What does the tax credit do?

The Child Tax Credit gives you a financial credit - money in your pocket - that can be used to help cover childcare costs. 

A credit is different from a tax refund. A tax refund reduces how much you pay in taxes. A credit is paid to you after finishing your taxes. 

What’s updated?

Here’s what you need to know: 

  • For each child over the age of six, the credit increased from $2,000 to $3,000 per child. 
    • The age limit has increased from 16 to 17 years old
  • For each child under the age of six, the credit increased from $2,000 to $3,600 per child. 
  • All working families can receive the entire credit with incomes up to $150,000 for a couple and $112,500 for a single head of household.
  • If you don’t have earned income, you can still claim the credit. 
    • If you don’t owe any taxes, you can still receive the credit.
  • From July to December 2021, half of the credit was sent to families in monthly payments.
  • Those payments stopped in January 2022. 
    • If you received monthly payments, you can still get the remaining half of the credit when you file your 2021 return. 

How do I know if my child is eligible for the credit?

  • ​​The child is your son, daughter, grandchild, stepchild or adopted child; younger sibling, step-sibling, half-sibling, or their descendent; or a foster child placed with you by a government agency.
  • The child was under 17 at the end of 2020.
  • The child has a valid Social Security Number.
  • The child lived with you for more than half of 2021.
  • The child did not provide over half of their own support for 2021.

I didn’t need to file taxes last year. Can I still receive the credit? 

Yes. If you have a child and earned less than $24,800 (couple) or $18,650 as a single head of household, use this tool to receive the credit. You’ll need social security numbers for you and your eligible children, a mailing address, phone number or email address, and bank account information, if you want direct deposit.

Does receiving the credit affect my other benefits?

No. The credit does not count as income. That means other benefits, like SNAP, are not affected when you receive the Child Tax Credit. 

Where can I find other resources about the credit?

To learn more, the White House has provided extensive resources: