Who's Not Eligible for Child Tax Credit Payments (It May Explain Why You're Not Getting Them)

The IRS has sent two rounds of child tax credit payments so far. Here's why some families haven't received any monthly payments.

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The IRS just sent the second of six monthly child tax credit payments. These payments, which can be as high as $300-per-child each month, have the potential to keep millions of American families out of poverty. However, while most parents have already pocketed hundreds or even thousands of dollars, other families haven't received a single dime.

The monthly payments are simply advance payments of the child tax credit you would otherwise claim on your 2021 tax return. You'll get half the total credit amount in monthly payments from July to December this year, and then claim the other half when you file your tax return next year. In most cases, the IRS will determine your eligibility for and the amount of your child tax credit and advance payments based on either your 2020 or 2019 tax return, whichever one was most recently filed. (The IRS also has an online tool (opens in new tab) that helps you determine if you're eligible.)

But there are various reasons why someone might not receive any monthly payments from the IRS. It could be due to the family's income, the age of a child, where they live, or some other disqualifying factor. If you haven't received any money yet, here's a list of common reasons why you might not get monthly child tax credit payments. Hopefully, you're getting payments if you're expecting them, especially if you're one of the millions of Americans still struggling financially because of the pandemic. But if you're not, it's easier to plan your next move if you know why you were left out.

(For complete coverage of the 2021 child tax credit, including more information about the monthly advance payments, see Child Tax Credit 2021: How Much Will I Get? When Will Monthly Payments Arrive? And Other FAQs.)

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rocky is a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger with more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.