Tax Breaks

2021 Child Tax Credit Calculator

See how much money you'll get in advance under the new child tax credit rules for 2021. Payments will start July 15.

The American Rescue Plan Act, which President Biden signed into law on March 11, temporarily increases the child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for children 5 years old and younger) for the 2021 tax year. It also authorizes monthly "child allowance" payments to families from July to December. Half the total credit amount will be paid in advance with the monthly payments, while the other half will be claimed on the tax return that you'll file next year.

However, not everyone will get the additional credit amount. And some families won't get any credit (or monthly payment) at all. That's because the credit is reduced – and possibly eliminated – for people with an income above a certain amount. In fact, there are two "phase-out" rules in play – one just for the extra $1,000 (or $1,600) amount and one for the remaining credit. That makes calculating the total credit and monthly payments very tricky.

If you want to see how much money you'll get, answer the four questions in the calculator below and we'll give you a customized estimate of the amount you'll receive each month in advance from July to December and how much you'll be able to claim as a child tax credit on your 2021 tax return.

[Stay on top of personal finance developments – Sign up for the Kiplinger Today E-Newsletter. It's FREE!]

STEP 1
What filing status did you use on your 2020 tax return?
Use your 2019 return if you haven't filed your 2020 return yet.
STEP 2
How many children age 5 and under will you have as of December 31, 2021?
STEP 3
How many children age 6 to 17 will you have as of December 31, 2021?
STEP 4
What's the adjusted gross income reported on your 2020 tax return?
Use your 2019 return if you haven't filed your 2020 return yet.

Pre-2021 Child Tax Credit Amount

For the 2020 tax year, the child tax credit was $2,000 per qualifying child. It was gradually phased-out (but not below zero) for joint filers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $400,000 or more and for other taxpayers with an AGI of $200,000 or more.

New Phase-Out Scheme for 2021

Under the American Rescue Plan, the 2021 increase (i.e., the extra $1,000 or $1,600) is gradually phased-out for joint filers with an AGI of $150,000 or more, head-of-household filers with an AGI of $112,500 or more, and all other taxpayers with an AGI of $75,000 or more. However, the increase can't be reduced below zero (other limitations to this reduction will apply as well).

After any reduction of the increased credit amount is calculated, the pre-existing phase-out is then applied to the remaining credit amount. So, for joint filers with an AGI of $400,000 or more and other taxpayers with an AGI of $200,000 or more, the credit is subject to an additional reduction – possibly to $0.

Monthly Payments in 2021

Once the credit amount is determined, 50% of it will be paid in advance with monthly payments. But those monthly payments will only run from July to December 2021. (The IRS said advance payment will be made on July 15, August 13, September 15, October 15, November 15 and December 15.) The remaining 50% will be claimed as a credit on your 2021 tax return.

The IRS will also create two online portals so that people can update their income, marital status, and the number of qualifying children. You can also use the portals to opt out of the monthly payments if you want to take the full child credit on your 2021 return instead.

For more information on this year's child tax credit, see Child Tax Credit 2021: Who Gets $3,600? Will I Get Monthly Payments? And Other FAQs.

Stay on Top of Stimulus Developments

Follow Kiplinger for the latest news and insights on economic stimulus developments (and other important personal finance matters). Stay with us on:

email. Sign up free for our daily Kiplinger Today e-newsletter.

social media. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

podcasts. Subscribe free to our weekly Your Money's Worth podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify.

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
4 Strategies to Reduce Taxes in Retirement
retirement planning

4 Strategies to Reduce Taxes in Retirement

Don’t let the possibility of higher taxes in the future sink your retirement income plan. Consider these four ways to help manage your taxes, keeping …
May 31, 2021
13 States That Tax Social Security Benefits
social security

13 States That Tax Social Security Benefits

You may have dreamed of a tax-free retirement, but if you live in these 13 states, your Social Security benefits are subject to a state tax. That's on…
May 26, 2021

Recommended

Estimated Tax Payments Are Due Today (June 15)
tax deadline

Estimated Tax Payments Are Due Today (June 15)

The deadline for submitting your second estimated tax payment of 2021 is just hours away, so get your payments in right away.
June 15, 2021
Why You Need a Roth IRA
Roth IRAs

Why You Need a Roth IRA

With this indispensable savings tool, your money grows tax-free, you can invest in almost anything and you get several cool perks.
June 14, 2021
Child Care Credit Expanded for 2021 (Up to $8,000 Available!)
Tax Breaks

Child Care Credit Expanded for 2021 (Up to $8,000 Available!)

For this year only (so far), families with young children can get a bigger tax credit for childcare expenses. And more families will qualify for the c…
June 12, 2021
Taxes on Unemployment Benefits: A State-by-State Guide
state tax

Taxes on Unemployment Benefits: A State-by-State Guide

Don't be surprised by an unexpected state tax bill on your unemployment benefits. Know where unemployment compensation is taxable and where it isn't.
June 10, 2021