Stimulus Concerns: How Do I Get the Child Tax Credit if I Had a Holiday Baby?

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The last advance portion of the child tax credit check was sent out in mid-December, but if you had a baby shortly before or after that, you are still eligible for the child tax credit benefit for the 2021 tax year.

See: Stimulus Update: You Could Still Qualify for a $1,400 Payment — Here’s What To Double-Check on Your Taxes
Find: How To Invest Your Tax Refund and Other Financial Windfalls Wisely This Year

In fact, if you did not sign up for the credit at all, but adopted or birthed a child in 2021, you will still be able to claim the credit. 

According to the IRS, for the tax year 2021, a qualifying child is an individual who does not turn 18 before Jan. 1, 2022 and who satisfies the following conditions:

  1. The individual is the taxpayer’s son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, a grandchild, niece, or nephew).
  2. The individual does not provide more than one-half of his or her own support during 2021.

This means if your child was recently born (before Jan. 1 of 2022) they will qualify as a dependent child for the purposes of receiving the child tax credit for the 2021 tax year. 

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Unfortunately, the time to claim and receive the advance payments has already passed. However, if you did miss out on advance payments, you will receive the full amount, $3,600 per qualifying child under the age of six, in one lump sum come tax time this year.

Related: The Big Increase and More Changes To the Child Tax Credit in 2021

What is the Maximum Benefit?

The maximum benefit amount is $3,600 for each qualifying child under the age of six, lessening for children aged 6-17. 

Half of this benefit, $1,800, was paid out in six monthly installments from July through December of 2021. The other half — for those who received monthly payments already — will be paid out when taxes are filed. If you did not receive any child tax credit payments in 2021, you will simply receive the entire payment you are owed when you file your 2021 taxes this year. 

This child tax credit is fully refundable, meaning that it will never need to be paid back. This benefit, and the amount, are specific to the stimulus relief bill that was signed into law in 2020 as part of a pandemic relief parcel to American families. The child tax credit is available every year, but not usually in this capacity. Typically, the credit is only available to taxpayers, and those who do not make an income cannot claim it. As part of last year’s tax credit though, anyone who makes under $75,000 filing single and $150,000 filing jointly can claim the credit — even if they make no money at all.

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Learn: ‘Tis the Season To Gift Crypto: Taxes and More Variables You Should Consider Before You Commit
Explore: Child Tax Credit: How To Claim the Full Amount On Your 2021 Taxes

The easiest way to receive the money in 2022 is to simply file a 2021 tax return. If you do not make an income and normally would not file for a tax refund, you can go to to sign up for updates concerning when the portal opens for the 2022 tax season. There, you will file a “simplified return” for the purposes of claiming the child tax credit.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 
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