$3,000 Child Tax Credit: New July timeline for monthly payments

Half of the child tax credit money will be paid out this year in monthly payments — and the rest in 2022. Here’s what else you need to know about the child tax credit checks.

Details on the child tax credit payments are still in the works, but money is expected to start going out in July. Here’s what we know.

By summer, eligible families with qualifying dependents can start looking for the expanded child tax credit payments that are part of March’s stimulus bill to arrive. If your family meets the requirements, you’ll begin to receive monthly payments in July, with the remainder of your money coming a year from now — when you file taxes in 2022.

Depending on the age of your dependent, payments will start as a one-time check for $500 and run up to $3,600 per child, split between 2021 and 2022. (See below for more.) And if you have a baby in 2021, that newborn will also count toward the amount you get. (You can calculate your total amount here.) We’re expecting to hear more from the IRS about the child tax credit payments before they begin.

We’ll tell you how the child tax credit payment schedule will work, including when payments will come, what you’ll need to do if you get too much money, how to correct errors using the IRS portal and what happens to your CTC payment if you share custody of a dependent. On a side note, If you’re still waiting for your $1,400 check to arrive, you can track your payment here. This story was recently updated.

Has the IRS set a date for when the first child tax credit payment will arrive?

We know the child tax credit payments will begin arriving in July, but a specific date hasn’t been announced. The IRS will make additional information about the expanded child tax credit available “as soon as possible,” the agency said in a March 12 statement. See our chart below for the likely timeline.

Timeline for the child tax credit payments

Monthly Payment ages 5 and younger Payment ages 6 to 17
July 2021: First payment of the year $300 $250
August 2021 $300 $250
September 2021 $300 $250
October 2021 $300 $250
November 2021 $300 $250
December 2021: Last payment of the year $300 $250
April 2022: Second half of payment $1,800 $1,500

How much child tax credit money you could get on a monthly basis

Payments will be split between half in 2021 and the rest in 2020. Half of the payment will go out in monthly installments this year, and the other half with your 2021 tax refund, filed in 2022.

The payments will be up to $300 per month for each qualifying child age 5 and under, and up to $250 per month for each child between the ages of 6 and 17. Note that this amount phases out for those with higher incomes: single people earning more than $75,000 per year, heads of household earning more than $112,500 per year and married couples earning more than $150,000 a year. Your child tax credit payments will begin to phase out by $50 for every $1,000 of income over those threshold amounts, according to Joanna Powell, managing director and certified financial planner at CBIZ.

So if you qualify for $3,000 and you have one dependent, you’d get an estimated $250 per month from July to December, for a total of $1,500. You then need to claim the rest of your child tax credit amount when you file your 2021 taxes next year (2022). Here’s more on the financial breakdown for qualified dependents.

You can use our calculator to get an estimate of how much you could get.

2021 child tax credit amount

Ages 5 and younger Up to $3,600, with half as $300 monthly payments
Ages 6 to 17 Up to $3,000, with half as $250 monthly payments
Age 18 $500
Ages 19 and 24, full-time college students $500

What about babies born in 2021 or older dependents?

If you have a baby anytime in 2021, they will be counted toward the child tax credit payment of $3,600, if you qualify. Children who are adopted can also qualify if they’re US citizens. As for your older dependents, if they’re between the ages of 18 and 24 they can qualify for $500 each — but note that if your kids are between the ages of 19 and 24, they must be enrolled in college full-time.

How is the new child tax credit different from how it worked before?

The first thing to know is you won’t get your child tax credit payments all at once this year. The “credit” part means the amount you owe in your 2021 taxes will be reduced by the “credit” you gain from your eligible dependents. That could either reduce your payment to the IRS for your 2021 taxes (filed in 2022) or else increase your tax refund for 2021. Normally, you’d receive that “credit” as a tax refund in 2022. But the plan is to bring you money sooner, which is why the checks will start coming in 2021 as “advance payments.”

This logic also explains why your 2021 child tax credit is split into two parts. The first part, in 2021, is the advance payment you can start using right away. The second part will apply to your 2021 taxes — which you file in 2022. Yes, it’s confusing. Hopefully, we answer some of your questions below.

How the IRS will likely send your child tax credit money

The way your child tax credit money arrives could very well depend on how you receive your stimulus check money, Powell told CNET. The IRS has changed this in the past, so we’ll need to hear official guidance from the agency.

For example, if you got all three stimulus checks via direct deposit, it’s quite possible your child tax credit could arrive that way, too. If you receive Social Security benefits like SSI or SSDI, it’s possible you might get your payment on a Direct Express card. Veterans who don’t normally pay taxes might also have a different delivery method.

Paper checks and EIP debit cards are other delivery methods used for stimulus checks. We’ll keep our ear to the ground for emerging details and will provide updates as we learn more.

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