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

A1. The IRS will determine who receives 2021 advance Child Tax Credit payments based on the information on your 2020 tax return, or your 2019 return if the IRS hasn't processed your 2020 return. In other words, if you claimed the Child Tax Credit for your child on your 2020 return, then you will receive the advance Child Tax Credit payments. If your child's other parent claimed the Child Tax Credit on their 2020 tax return, then they will receive the advance Child Tax Credit payments.

If you will not be eligible to claim the Child Tax Credit on your 2021 return (the one due in April of 2022), then you should go to the IRS website to unenroll from receiving monthly payments by using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTC UP). Receiving monthly payments now could mean that you have to return those payments when you file your tax return next year. If things change again and you are entitled to the Child Tax Credit for 2021, you can claim the full amount on your tax return when you file next year.

A2. Yes. Because you claimed your child on your 2020 tax return, the IRS will automatically disburse advance Child Tax Credit payments to you even though you know you won'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 in excess 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 know you won't be claiming the Child Tax Credit on your 2021 return, then you should go to the IRS website to unenroll from receiving monthly payments using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTC UP). If things change again and you are entitled to the Child Tax Credit for 2021, you can claim the full amount on your tax return when you file next year.

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 is receiving advance Child Tax Credit payments. The other parent should unenroll from receiving advance payments, but their decision will not affect your ability to claim the Child Tax Credit.