The Child Tax Credit (CTC) helps families afford the everyday expenses of raising a child. All tax filers with qualifying children are eligible for the credit, even if they have no earned income or don’t owe income taxes. The value of the CTC has been increased for tax year 2021, including up to $3,000 (per child under age 18) or $3,600 (per child under age 6) and can be received as advance payments starting July 15, 2021.
- Update: CTC credits have been expanded for tax year 2021 through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.
- Payments are fully refundable, which means you can benefit from the credit even if you don't have earned income or don't owe any income taxes.
- The credit includes children who turn age 17 in 2021.
- You can receive half of your CTC credit before you file your tax year 2021 return, and claim the remaining half when you file your tax year 2021 returns.
- Payments will automatically be made to you on a monthly basis from the IRS starting July 15, 2021 if you have filed your taxes for tax year 2020 or tax year 2019.
- The IRS will issue the remaining payments on August 13th, September 15th, October 15th, November 15th and December 15th.
- The IRS has started sending letters to families who, based on federal tax returns, may be eligible to receive monthly CTC payments. Families who are eligible for advance CTC payments will receive a second, personalized letter listing an estimate of their monthly payment.
- The deadline for tax year 2020 was May 17, 2021, but you may be able to file your 2020 tax return for free with NYC Free Tax Prep if your family earned $68,000 or less.
- If you aren't required to file a tax return, use the Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool to provide info to the IRS for advance cash payments.
- To check the status of any payments or make changes, use the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.
- To qualify, a child or dependent must be a US citizen or resident and have a Social Security number. They also must have lived with you for over half the year.
- You can claim your child, stepchild, adopted child, foster child, niece or nephew, grandchild, or great-grandchild.
- If you have siblings, step-siblings, or half-siblings that live with you, you can also claim them.
- If you qualify, the government mails your refund (paper check or prepaid debit card) or deposits it into your bank account.
Who is eligible
Update: CTC credits have been expanded to $3,000 (per child under age 18) or $3,600 (per child under age 6) for tax year 2021 through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.
To be eligible for CTC, you should be able to answer yes to these questions:
- Do you have a child or dependent who is under 18 years old and has a Social Security Number?
- Is your dependent a US citizen, a US national, or a permanent resident?
- Has your dependent lived with you for over half of the year?
- Is your dependent claimed on your tax return?
What you need to apply
To claim the credits, you will need to gather the following documents for all person listed on your tax return:
- Identity and age: such as a photo ID, driver’s license, IDNYC, passport, naturalization certificate.
- Your income (if any): forms W-2, 1099s, or income and expense records if you are self-employed.
- All records of expenses, including if you own or run a business or farm.
- Social Security cards or Social Security number verification letter.
- Copies of last year’s federal and state returns (if you have them).
- Dependent care information: provider’s name, address, and ID number (EIN or SSN).
- Form 1095-A if you, your spouse, or dependents enrolled in a health insurance plan through the Health Plan Marketplace.
How to apply
If you aren’t required to file a tax return, use the Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool to provide info to the IRS for advance cash payments.
To check the status of any payments or make changes, use the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.
To claim your CTC, you must file Form 1040, or Form 1040NR.
- File online: you can file your taxes online, using Self-Prep with Help services or Virtual Tax Prep.
- File with drop-off services: you can drop off your tax documents and pick up the completed return later
- File in-person: you may qualify to have your taxes prepared for free through in person at one of the tax prep locations near you.
How to get help
Visit a tax prep location
If you qualify, visit a tax prep location to get help filing your taxes in person.
Visit the website
Go to the IRS page on Advance Child Tax Credit Payments in 2021 for more information.
Go to NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for more information.
Immigrants can make an appointment with ActionNYC to receive assistance.
Find a VITA or TCE location
Call 800-906-9887 to find the nearest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE).
Ask for tax preparation assistance.