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TurboTax Help

What is the Child Tax Credit?

If you’re looking for help with the Child Tax Credit advance payments, go to the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal to view your eligibility, unenroll from getting advance payments, or to update your bank account information.

The child tax credit is a $2,000 tax credit for each qualifying dependent child claimed on your return.

To qualify, your child must meet all of these requirements:

  • Be under age 17 at the end of the tax year
  • Is your child, stepchild, foster child, adopted child, sibling, step sibling, half sibling, or a descendant of any of them (for example, a grandchild, niece, or nephew)
  • Has their own Social Security Number
  • Lived with you for more than half the year
  • Didn't support themself (didn't pay more than half their own expenses)
  • Is a US citizen, US national, or US resident alien
    • Residents of Canada or Mexico don't qualify

Up to $1,400 of the credit is refundable (meaning you can get it as a refund) and is phased-in based on your earned income. In most cases, you must have $2,500 or more of earned income to be eligible for any portion of the refundable Child Tax Credit. Once your AGI reaches $200,000 (or $400,000 if you're filing jointly with your spouse), however, the $2,000 per-child credit is reduced.

Beginning in tax year 2021 (the taxes you’ll file next year in 2022) the Child Tax Credit will increase up to,

  • $3,600 per qualifying child under 6
  • $3,000 per qualifying child age 6–17

if your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than,

  • $150,000 if you’re married and filing a joint return or a qualifying widow
  • $112,500 if you’re filing as head of household, or
  • $75,000 if you’re filing single or married filing separately

If your AGI is above these amounts, the amount you’re eligible for will be reduced (“phased out”).

The phase out reduces the credit by $50 for each $1,000 your modified AGI is above the income threshold. For example, if you're married filing jointly making $151,000 and your child is under 6, you’re eligible for a total credit of $3,550. 

If your income is higher than the thresholds listed above, you’ll still qualify to receive $2,000 per child until your modified AGI in 2021 exceeds:

  • $400,000 if married and filing a joint return; or
  • $200,000 for all other filing statuses

If your AGI is above these amounts, the amount you’re eligible for will be reduced by $50 for each $1,000 your modified AGI is above the income threshold.

The Child Tax Credit will also be fully refundable. Meaning that you’re eligible for the credit even if you don’t owe taxes.

The IRS will be sending advanced payments of this increased credit starting July 15, based on your most recent return. Learn more about these payments here.  

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