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Alternating Multiple Dependants

In 2020, I claimed 2 of my kids and my ex claimed 1. In 2021, I will claim 1 and he will claim 2. I am currently being sent the child tax credit for 2 kids. My ex believes that I am stealing his money, because he will not get the full credit when he claims our 2 kids for 2021, because the IRS is sending me half. Is this true? Do I need to completely unenroll and receive nothing until tax time? Can I continue getting the money for both kids and just pay back for 1 child without it effecting my exe's tax returns.  The IRS stated there will be a way to adjust dependents "later this summer". Do you have any further information on this?

2 Replies
Expert Alumni

Alternating Multiple Dependants

Welcome to our answer community.

You have an interesting situation and rather unique situation but I believe the same information applies.

Even though our are splitting the children 2 for one parent one year and 1 for one parent one year one parent  could still run into having to pay back the money in 2021.

Claiming the Child tax credit in alternating is going to be an issue because the advance credits will be based on 2020 tax returns, or the most recent year the IRS has on file. Technically, though, the parent claiming the dependents for 2021 should get the payments, which can complicate things if the parents alternate years.


For example: If Parent A claimed the child in 2020 but Parent B will claim him or her in 2021, Parent A will still get the advance payments, which means they may want to go ahead and waive them future tax payments because there’s a risk that if you’ll have to repay it in the 2021 tax season. 


There is some other reasons my may not have to pay it back because of a safe harbor, which depends on income: Individuals making less than $40,000 ($60,000 for couples filing jointly) who receive an overpayment of the credit will not need to repay it.


Parents can opt out of the payments using the IRS’s online portal.  The parent who was not the custodian last year but is this year will be able to use the portal to update information on their qualifying children to get the advanced monthly payments, according to the IRS



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Alternating Multiple Dependants

I don’t understand. Will my advance payments affect him claiming both kids in 2021? Or will It not matter? I know I’ll have to pay the money back to the IRS, but will he then get the full tax credit when he files?

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