Taxpayers who qualify for the newly expanded child tax credit will receive a letter in the mail from the IRS in the following days informing them of their eligibility, the agency announced Monday. It will be based on either their most recent tax return or information they submitted to the agency's non-filers tool to claim a 2020 economic impact payment.
An estimated 36 million families qualify for the benefit, which is worth up to $300 per month for each qualifying dependent child under age 6 in 2021, and up to $250 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17. Families can expect a second letter from the IRS estimating their monthly payment in the coming weeks, the agency said.
The first payment is slated for July 15. After that, taxpayers can expect the payments in their bank accounts roughly halfway through each month through December, per the IRS. Here are the official dates:
- July 15
- Aug. 13
- Sept. 15
- Oct. 15
- Nov. 15
- Dec. 15
The payments will be made either by direct deposit or by paper check, depending on what information the IRS has on file for each recipient. Eligible families will receive a lump sum for the first six months of 2021 when they file their returns in 2022.
Who qualifies for the payments
An estimated 88% of families with children will qualify for the expanded credits, according to the IRS. Filers must have had a 2019 or 2020 adjusted gross income below the following levels to qualify for the full monthly payment:
- $75,000 for individual taxpayers
- $112,500 for heads of household
- $150,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, and widows/widowers
The tax credit is refundable, so all who qualify will receive a payment even if they don't have any earned income or typically earn too little to owe taxes.
Families will receive a maximum of $3,600 for each child under 6 for tax year 2021, and a maximum of $3,000 for kids 6 through 17.
The agency says most eligible families do not have to do anything to receive the payments, which will be based on 2020 income. If they haven't filed their taxes yet, though, they should do so ASAP. This gives the IRS each person's most current banking information and information on their dependents.
Before July 15, the IRS plans to have a tool available that will enable families to put off receiving the advanced payments and instead receive the full tax credit amount when they file their taxes next year.
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