See this IRS website for information and how to contact the IRS that you will be claiming the children in 2021.
Advance Child Tax Credit payments
From July through December 2021, up to half the credit will be advanced to eligible families by Treasury and the IRS. The advance payments will be estimated from their 2020 return, or if not available, their 2019 return.
For that reason, the IRS urges families to file their 2020 return as soon as possible. This includes many low-and moderate-income families who don't normally file returns. Often, those families will qualify for an Economic Impact Payment or tax benefits, such as the EITC. This year, taxpayers have until May 17, 2021, to file a return.
To speed delivery of any refund, be sure to file electronically and choose direct deposit. Doing so will also ensure quick delivery of the Advance Child Tax Credit payments to eligible taxpayers, later this year.
In the next few weeks, eligible families can choose to decline receiving the advance payments.
Likewise, families will also be able to notify Treasury and IRS of changes in their income, filing status or number of qualifying children. Details will be available soon.
If you will claim the kids in 2021 then you will get the credit on the 2021 return however you could use the upcoming portal at the IRS to opt in for the advance payments AND more importantly the EX needs to OP OUT ASAP so he doesn't get the advance payments that they will need to repay on the 2021 return if they are not claiming the child.
That CTC increase is not for 2020; it is for 2021. Your 2020 return does not have to be amended for it. More information will be available soon; the details of how it will be implemented have not yet been clarified fully. There may be monthly payments going out beginning in July 2021, with some of the CTC still left as a refundable credit on your 2021 tax return next year.
So far, the IRS has not announced the procedures for this tax credit. It is the safe and conservative approach to assume that the credit will have to be paid back if you receive it and then turn out not to qualify.
The IRS also says that taxpayers will have an opportunity to decline the advance payments.
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