Calculate how much you will get from the expanded child tax credit

Find out when and how to to get the benefit

Updated May 18 at 11:19 p.m.

President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package included a massive one-year increase to the child tax credit. The expansion could benefit as many as 83 million children and reduce the number of children living in poverty by more than 40 percent, at least temporarily.

See how much you should receive under the expanded credit:

Estimate your 2021 Child Tax Credit

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What is your tax filing status for 2020?

What is your adjusted gross income?

How many dependents are you claiming?

Under age 6 (as of Dec. 31, 2021)

Ages 6 through 16

17 years old

18 or older

Half of the tax credit will be paid out in monthly checks, beginning July 15. The other half will be a credit toward next year’s taxes. Any money left after covering taxes will be paid directly to families.

How is this different from the old child tax credit?

In short, the expanded credit generally provides more money, and makes it available sooner in the form of monthly payments. Here’s how the change looks for some example families.

These three families all have three kids between 6 and 16 years old.

2021 child tax credit
This year, the Martins and the Longs are eligible for the same $9,000 child tax credit. The Hills are eligible for less money than the other families because they have a higher income.

Standard child tax credit
Under the standard child-tax-credit system, all three families would be eligible for the same $6,000 in tax credits.

Standard child tax credit
However, the Martins would actually receive less than the other families. That’s because some of the standard child tax credit could be used only to pay federal income taxes, and the Martins owe less in income tax than they could receive from the child tax credit.

Standard child tax credit
The Martins would receive a check for some of the child tax credit left after paying taxes, but lose $1,300 that could be used only to pay income tax. The Longs and the Hills would benefit from their full child tax credit because they owe more in income tax than they would receive in credits.

Enter your information in the calculator to see how you compare to these three families.

How much will I receive per child?

The maximum benefit is $3,600 per child under 6 and $3,000 per child ages 6 to 17. For more information about how much you might receive, use our calculator above.

Maximum tax credit, by dependent age

I’m eligible for the child tax credit. What do I need to do to receive the money?

The vast majority of eligible households won’t need to do anything, according to administration officials. But if your income was too low to file for taxes in 2020 or if you have a child born in 2021, the IRS will create two different portals where you can provide that information to receive your payments. Those portals are not yet available.

[Child cash benefit will begin hitting millions of parents’ bank accounts July 15]

When will I begin to receive the money?

The IRS will begin to deliver monthly payments on July 15, and then on the 15th of each month through December 2021. If the 15th falls on a holiday or weekend, the money will be delivered on the business day closest to the 15th.

Half of the tax credit will go out as monthly payments between July and December 2021. The other half will be credited against 2021 taxes, and any money remaining will be paid directly to families.

For example, a family with a 4-year-old would be eligible for a credit of $3,600 dollars. They would receive $300 per month from July through December, and then $1,800 when they file their taxes in 2022.

How can I receive money from the child tax credit?

Most people will get the money in their bank accounts via direct deposit. If the IRS does not have your direct-deposit information, you will receive the credit as a paper check or debit card.

How can I get the benefit if my child was born in 2021, or if I gained custody of a child in 2021?

The IRS plans to create an online portal where families can tell the IRS about children born in 2021, or about changes in child custody.

What if I have an adult dependent?

You will not receive a monthly payment for dependents 18 and older. However, when you file your income taxes, you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $500 per adult dependent.

My income is too low for me to file taxes. Am I still eligible for the credit?

Yes. The IRS plans to create an additional portal that will help non-filers and organizations that work with the homeless to receive the credit.

Will I continue getting monthly payments next year?

As of right now, no. The stimulus bill only expands the child tax credit for one year. President Biden has proposed extending the expansion through 2025 as a part of the American Families Plan. Democrats hope to make the program permanent.

About this story

These figures are estimates, and individual filers receive different credit amounts because of their unique tax situations. Only dependents with a Social Security number are eligible for the credit. Additional analysis from Erica York and Garrett Watson of the Tax Foundation.

Alyssa Fowers is a graphics reporter for The Washington Post.