If you have qualifying children under the age of 18, you may be able to claim a child tax credit. (You may also be able to claim a partial credit for certain other dependents who are not qualifying children.) The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 makes substantial, temporary improvements to the child tax credit for 2021, which may increase the amount you might receive.
Ages of qualifying children
The legislation makes 17-year-olds eligible as qualifying children in 2021. Thus, children age 17 and younger are eligible as qualifying children in 2021.
Increase in credit amount
For 2021, the child tax credit amount increases from $2,000 to $3,000 per qualifying child ($3,600 per qualifying child under age 6). The partial credit for other dependents who are not qualifying children remains at $500 per dependent.
Phaseout of credit
The combined child tax credit (the sum of your child tax credits and credits for other dependents) is subject to phaseout based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). Special rules start phasing out the increased portion of the child tax credit in 2021 at much lower thresholds than under pre-existing rules. The credit, as reduced under the special rules for 2021, is then subject to phaseout under the pre-existing phaseout rules.
The following table summarizes the effect of the phaseouts on the child tax credit in 2021, based on MAGI.
Single/Married filing separately
Married filing jointly
Head of household
Up to $75,000
Up to $150,000
Up to $112,500
No reduction in credit
$75,001 to $200,000
$150,001 to $400,000
$112,501 to $200,000
Credit can be reduced to $2,000 per qualifying child, $500 per other dependent
More than $200,000
More than $400,000
More than $200,000
Credit can be reduced to $0
The aggregate amount of nonrefundable credits allowed is limited to tax liability. With refundable credits, a taxpayer may receive a refund at tax time if they exceed tax liability.
For most taxpayers, the child tax credit is fully refundable for 2021. To qualify for a full refund, the taxpayer (or either spouse for joint returns) must generally reside in the United States for more than half of the taxable year. Otherwise, under the pre-existing rules, a partial refund of up to $1,400 per qualifying child may be available. The credit for other dependents is not refundable.
Eligible taxpayers may receive periodic advance payments for up to half of the refundable child tax credit during 2021, generally based on 2020 tax returns. The U.S. Treasury will make the payments between July and December 2021. For example, monthly payments could be up to $250 per qualifying child ($300 per qualifying child under age 6).
The accompanying pages have been developed by an independent third party. Commonwealth Financial Network is not responsible for their content and does not guarantee their accuracy or completeness, and they should not be relied upon as such. These materials are general in nature and do not address your specific situation. For your specific investment needs, please discuss your individual circumstances with your representative. Commonwealth does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing in the accompanying pages should be construed as specific tax or legal advice. Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2015. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.
April 22, 2021 Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2021