On a very basic level, taxpayers who qualify for Child Tax Credit payments must have one or more dependent children who are under age 18 for all of 2021, have a valid Social Security number, live with them for at least six months a year and be United States citizens.
Once those qualifications are met, they must have earned less than certain income limits to get the Child Tax Credit payments. The IRS is the federal agency that is in charge of determining eligibility and the proper amount of the Child Tax Credit and is also responsible for distributing the funds.
Taxpayers who previously claimed dependent children on their tax returns and who still meet the age criteria should be automatically enrolled to receive the Child Tax Credit payments.
This describes the vast majority of Americans who will be receiving the money. Taxpayers whom the IRS deems to be qualified will receive several letters in the mail about the Child Tax Credit.
However, there are circumstances in which the IRS may not know that a particular family qualifies.
For example, a couple may have borne their first child after they filed their 2021 tax return. Other families may have adopted a child since 2021. For situations like this, the IRS has an online tool where taxpayers can see if they are already considered to qualify and if not, have the ability to self-register.
Likewise, there are families that qualified in 2021 and are on the list to get the Child Tax Credit payments in 2022, but due to an increase in income or having a child turn 18, are no longer qualified in 2022. These families may want to go online to the IRS website and opt-out of the Child Tax Credit payments to avoid owing additional money on their taxes when it is time to file.