2021 Child Tax Credit and Advance Child Tax Credit Payments — Topic F: Updating Your Child Tax Credit Information During 2021

These updated FAQs were released to the public in Fact Sheet 2022-17PDF , March 8, 2022.

A1. The IRS launched on IRS.gov a Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTC UP) to allow you to:

  • Elect not to receive advance Child Tax Credit payments during 2021;
  • Update your bank account information;
  • Update your mailing address; and
  • Update your income.

Updates made by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on November 29 were reflected in the monthly advance Child Tax Credit payments disbursed in December.

Note:  If you  don’t have an account, many financial institutions will help you open a low-cost or no-cost bank account. Visit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation website for details on opening an account online or use the FDIC's BankFind tool to locate an FDIC-insured bank. BankOn, American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers of America, and the National Credit Union Administration have lists of banks and credit unions that can open an account online. See the Veterans Benefits Banking Program, if you’re a veteran, for access to financial services at participating banks.

A2. Yes, if you provided your updated income by using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTC UP). This online portal allowed you to update income you planned to report on your 2021 tax return so that we could change our estimate of your 2021 Child Tax Credit. This allowed us to adjust the amount of your monthly advance Child Tax Credit payments in 2021 to account for your income change.

Updates made by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on November 29 were reflected in the monthly advance Child Tax Credit payments disbursed in December.

A3. Your advance Child Tax Credit payments were based on the children you claimed for the Child Tax Credit on your 2020 tax return (or 2019 tax return, if your 2020 tax return had not been processed as of the payment determination date for any of your monthly advance Child Tax Credit payments).

If you did not receive advance Child Tax Credit payments for a qualifying child you will claim for 2021, you can claim the full amount of your allowable Child Tax Credit for that child when you file your 2021 tax return during the 2022 tax filing season.

A4. In July 2021, the IRS started making advance monthly payments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit.  For many families, the amount of the 2021 Child Tax Credit increased compared to the amount of the 2020 Child Tax Credit. However, the total advance payments may be greater than any increase in the 2021 credit, depending on a family’s circumstances. If you’re in this situation and did not adjust income tax withholding from your pay in 2021 (and did not unenroll from advance monthly payments), the amount of your tax refund received in 2022 may decrease compared to the refund received in 2021, or the balance due in 2022 with your 2021 income tax return may increase compared to the balance due in 2021. Some taxpayers also may shift from getting a refund in 2021 to owing a balance in 2022.

Therefore, if you received a small refund or had a balance due when you filed your tax return for 2020 in 2021, you could have unenrolled from advance Child Tax Credit payments, updated your Form W-4 by entering an additional amount to be withheld each pay period on step 4c of the form, or made quarterly estimated tax payments for the remainder of 2021.

Updates made by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on November 29 were reflected in the monthly advance Child Tax Credit payments disbursed in December. 

For more information about how your advance Child Tax Credit payments were calculated and disbursed, see Topic D: Calculation of Advance Child Tax Credit Payments, and Topic E: Advance Payment Process of the Child Tax Credit.  Individuals were able to unenroll from advance Child Tax Credit payments through the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTC UP). For more information regarding the CTC UP, see Topic F: Updating Your Child Tax Credit Information During 2021.