Child tax credit: Another $1,800 per kid? You could still get money after monthly checks end this week

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December’s check is the final child tax credit payment of the year.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The final advance child tax credit check of 2021 will be sent out by the IRS to millions of eligible families in just three day. And while December’s payment is the last of the year, you can look for more money to arrive when you file your 2022 taxes. If you signed up for direct deposit, your last payment should arrive on Dec. 15 — otherwise, expect your check to come in the mail by the end of the month. (With the holiday shipping crunch, mail could be delayed.)

With advance payments coming to an end in December, you’re likely wondering what comes next and whether Congress will reauthorize the payments, which in November went out to 36 million families. We’ll explain the latest on whether the government plans to extend the enhanced child tax credit payments beyond 2022. We’ll also tell you what to expect when you file your taxes next year. This story will be updated regularly.

How much child tax credit money you could receive with your federal tax refund in 2022

If you and your family meet the income eligibility requirements and you’ve received each payment between July and December of this year, here’s how much you could get: Up to $1,800 for each child age 5 and younger, or up to $1,500 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17.

If you opted out of receiving payments before the first check went out, you’ll get the full amount you qualify for at once — up to $3,600 per child. Any payments you missed due to errors or because you unenrolled should be included with your tax refund.


Your payment could be up to $3,600 next year, if you opted out in 2021.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Will advance child tax credit checks be sent again next summer?

Congress is debating whether to extend the advanced child tax credit payments past spring in 2022 — and if so, for how long? House Democrats on Nov. 19 passed the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better program that would extend the reauthorized the advanced child tax credit for an additional year. However, with Congress working out the details of the funding package through December, it’s unclear what the outcome will be.

While Congress should come to an agreement on extending the payments this year, it’s possible the House and Senate won’t decide until 2022.

What to do if you’re still missing a payment?

If you’re missing money from one of the previous checks due to an IRS error or outdated information, it may arrive with your December payment. But if it doesn’t, you can either wait for the issue to be resolved when you file your taxes or you can file a payment trace with the IRS. Before you do that, track your check to make sure it’s not already on the way.

Note that if you gained a dependent since you last filed taxes, the IRS wouldn’t have that information on file. If that’s your case, you won’t get any money until you file your taxes next year.

Will the payments you received this year impact your taxes next year?

The child tax credit payments you got this year could potentially affect your taxes (for better or worse). Here’s how:

  • You received an overpayment and the IRS didn’t adjust the amount on later payments. You’ll have to pay this back.
  • You received payments you didn’t qualify for. You’ll have to pay the IRS back.
  • Your income changed, and you didn’t report it to the IRS. This could result in a larger or smaller tax refund or you owing the IRS, depending on if your income was higher or lower than what the IRS used to calculate your payment.
  • You opted out of the payments this year, so your payout will be larger next year.
  • You received money for a child that’ll turn 18 by the end of 2021. You may have to pay that money back.

Your taxes could be affected by the child tax credit payments.

Sarah Tew/CNET

How to get child tax credit money if you have a baby in December

If you have a baby in December — or adopt one — you’ll be eligible for up to $3,600 for that child when you file your taxes in 2022. That includes back pay for the advance July through December payments and the chunk coming with your refund.

You should get that money when you claim your child on your tax return, which will let the IRS know about your household changes. 

For more information, here’s how to calculate how much child tax credit money you should get, how to use the IRS portals to update your household details and how to contact the IRS about child tax credit questions.

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