Using this letter as a person who is married and files a joint return
If you and your spouse filed a joint tax return in 2019 or 2020, you will each receive a letter from the IRS. These letters will each show half of the total monthly Child Tax Credit payments sent in 2021. If you and your spouse intend to file a joint return for 2021, you will add the amounts from each letter and list that total amount on your tax return. Here is an example using a family that files joint tax returns. If that family received a total of $1,800 in advance Child Tax Credit payments over the final six months of 2021, each spouse would receive their own Letter 6419. The amount on each letter will be $900.
- If that family intends to file a joint tax return in 2021, they will list $1,800 ($900 plus $900) in Child Tax Credit received on their tax return.
- Alternatively, if that family intends to file separate returns this year, each spouse will list $900 in Child Tax Credit received on their tax return.
If the amount on your letter is different than what you think you got
Although most people can rely on the letters they received from the IRS, some people may receive an amount that is different from the correct amount. For instance, if you moved in December of 2021 or changed bank accounts that month, your last monthly payment may have been returned to the IRS after the letters were sent. If you are among the small number of people who thinks their letter may have listed an incorrect total payment amount, there are other ways to confirm your payments. The CTC Update Portal and your IRS Online Account will have the correct amount.
If you filed tax returns but have not received Child Tax Credit payments
There are a few reasons why you might not have received 2021 Child Tax Credit payments:
- You make more than $400,000 per year.
- Someone else claimed your children on their tax return (see joint custody arrangements).
- You indicated that your child is not a qualifying child for the Child Tax Credit.
- Your family did not live in the United States for more than half the year.
Even if you did not receive monthly Child Tax Credit payments between July and December of 2021, you can claim the full amount of the Child Tax Credit that you are eligible for when you file a tax return this year.
If you received wrong or inconsistent payments
The IRS estimated payment amounts based on 2019 or 2020 tax information and began sending advance monthly payments to people who appeared to be eligible in July of 2021. The IRS attempted to send accurate payment amounts, but in some cases the payment amounts were different from what should have been sent.
Regardless of how much you received in monthly payments, you will receive the full remaining amount of the Child Tax Credit you are eligible for when you file your 2021 tax return.
There are a few reasons why your advance monthly Child Tax Credit payments may be different from what you are actually eligible for.
- A qualifying child makes a parent eligible to receive the Child Tax Credit. A child’s qualification depends on factors such as age, residency and their relationship to you. Eligible parents will receive Child Tax Credit payments for each qualifying child they have, and those payments are lower for parents who earn higher incomes.
- To estimate the amount a parent is eligible to receive in Child Tax Credits, the IRS used tax returns from 2019 or 2020 (whichever was more recent). But life can change in a year or two. For instance, if you experienced the birth of a new child since your most recent tax return, the IRS would not have included that child in your Child Tax Credit estimate.
- A small number of families who received advance monthly payments did not get their December payment because they moved or switched bank accounts. This would have caused the payment to be returned to the IRS. In this case, the amount listed on their “2021 Total Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) Payments” Letter 6419 would list an incorrect total payment. If you think you fall into this category, the CTC Update Portal and your IRS Online Account will have the correct amount.
- People who are married and file joint tax returns have also asked questions about Letter 6419. Each spouse received their own Letter 6419 listing half of the total amount of advance payments the couple received. When this couple files their joint tax return in 2021, they should claim the total amount listed on both letters. If you have questions about Letter 6419, visit that topic on this page.
- Anyone can also see an accurate total amount for what they received in advance monthly payments by using the CTC Update Portal or their IRS Online Account.
Parents who married in 2021
Marriage changes your life in many ways, and those changes may impact your Child Tax Credit. It’s possible that your filing status, your income, and the number of qualifying children in the household may all change. For many people, marriage will not result in any changes to the amount of their Child Tax Credit.
It is possible that as a result of a marriage in 2021, a family will be eligible for a smaller or larger Child Tax Credit than the IRS had estimated based on your previous information. Families will be eligible to claim any Child Tax Credit amount they are eligible for over the amount of any monthly Child Tax Credit payments received last year when they file their 2021 tax return during the 2022 tax filing season.
If you have any questions about your unique circumstances, you should visit irs.gov/childtaxcredit2021.
Parents who separated, share custody, or alternate claiming dependents
If you did not receive advance monthly Child Tax Credit payments in 2021, you may still be entitled to the full amount of the credit. Even if someone else received payments for the child in 2021, if the qualifying child lived with you for most of 2021 then you may be eligible to claim the full amount of the credit.
The IRS estimated and directed monthly payments based on 2019 and 2020 tax information that may not have accurately reflected circumstances in 2021. If someone else rightfully claimed a child on their 2019 or 2020 taxes who is a qualifying child for you in 2021, they may have received monthly Child Tax Credit payments based on those previous years’ claims. However, this will not impact the amount of benefit you are eligible to claim for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
If you rightfully claim a qualifying child for purposes of the Child Tax Credit in 2021, then you will receive the full amount of the Child Tax Credit for which you are eligible, even if someone else received advance payments for that child in 2021.