2021 Child Tax Credit and Advance Child Tax Credit Payments — Topic L: Commonly Asked Shared-Custody Questions

These FAQs were released to the public in Fact Sheet 2022-03 PDF, January 11, 2022.

A1. The IRS determined who received 2021 advance Child Tax Credit payments based on the information on your 2020 tax return, or your 2019 return if the IRS hadn’t processed your 2020 return. In other words, if you claimed the Child Tax Credit for your child on your 2020 return, then you would have received the advance Child Tax Credit payments. If your child's other parent claimed the Child Tax Credit on their 2020 tax return, then they would have received the advance Child Tax Credit payments.

If you knew you would not be eligible to claim the Child Tax Credit on your 2021 return (the one due in April of 2022), then you could have unenrolled from receiving monthly payments by using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTC UP) at IRS.gov. Receiving monthly payments during 2021 could mean that you have to repay those payments when you file your 2021 tax return during the 2022 tax filing season. If things changed again and you are entitled to the Child Tax Credit for 2021, you can claim the full amount on your 2021 tax return when you file it.

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

A2. Because you claimed your child on your 2020 tax return, the IRS automatically disbursed advance Child Tax Credit payments to you even though you knew you wouldn’t be claiming your child on your 2021 tax return. When you file your 2021 tax return (the one due in April of 2022), you could have to pay back the advance payments that exceed the amount of the Child Tax Credit you're entitled to claim on that return. 

You may be excused from repaying some or all of the excess amount if you qualify for repayment protection. For more information about repayment protection, see Topic H: Reconciling Your Advance Child Tax Credit Payments on Your 2021 Tax Return.

If you knew you wouldn’t be claiming the Child Tax Credit on your 2021 return, then you could have unenrolled from receiving monthly payments using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTC UP) at IRS.gov. If things changed again and you are entitled to the Child Tax Credit for 2021, you can claim the full amount on your 2021 tax return during the 2022 tax filing season.

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. Yes. You will be able to claim the full amount of the Child Tax Credit for your child on your 2021 tax return even if the other parent received advance Child Tax Credit payments. The other parent should have unenrolled from receiving advance payments, but their decision will not affect your ability to claim the Child Tax Credit.