Child Tax Credit: Grandparents and Other Relatives of Dependents Can Collect Money — Are You Eligible?

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The IRS is working hard to inform the 9 million households who may be eligible for the Child Tax Credit or other pandemic-related stimulus funds that they can still collect their money. Beginning on Oct. 13, the agency sent out reminder letters to those who may qualify for the CTC, Recovery Rebate Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit.”

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“Even if they aren’t required to file a tax return, they may still qualify for several important credits. We don’t want people to overlook these tax credits, and the letters will remind people of their potential eligibility and steps they can take,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a news release on

Grandparents and other relatives of minor dependents, especially, may not realize they qualify for the CTC. However, any parent, grandparent, foster parent, or other relative caring for a dependent child under the age of 18 at the end of the 2021 tax year can qualify for the CTC.

If you are over the age of 18 and provide at least half of a child’s support during the year for a child who lived with you more than half the year, and you rightfully claim the child as a dependent on your tax return, you should receive a tax credit.

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The enhanced CTC during the pandemic was $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for children 6 and up. To qualify for the credit, the dependent must not file a joint return with a spouse, except if it is to claim a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid (in the case of self-employed/1099 contractors). The dependent must also be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. resident alien.

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Many people don’t know that you can collect the CTC for a stepchild, foster child, sibling, step-sibling, half-sibling, or a niece, nephew, or grandchild if you meet the above qualifications.  

There are also income considerations to keep in mind. You can qualify for the credit if your dependent meets the above requirements and your annual income does not exceed:

  • $150,000 (married, filing jointly or qualifying widow or widower)
  • $112,500 as head-of-household
  • $75,000 for individuals or married, filing separately.

If you believe you qualify for the CTC or have received a letter from the IRS saying that you may qualify, you’ll need to file your 2021 taxes to claim your money. There will be no penalties for filing a late return if you do not owe any taxes.

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You can use the IRS free File program online if you earned $73,000 or less in 2021. If you earned more than that, you can still use the IRS Free File Fillable Forms as long as you are comfortable doing your own taxes.

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The IRS is keeping the Free File portal and program open an additional month — through Nov. 17 — to help residents file their taxes and collect these important tax credits in time for the holiday season.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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