Child Tax Credit

$3000/$3600 Child Tax Credit: how to apply and claim if not yet received

The rollout of the benefits begin today so make sure you are aware of what you are eligible to receive and how to receive it.

$3000/$3600 Child Tax Credit: how to apply and claim if not yet received
Spencer Platt AFP

88% of American families are eligible to receive the monthly payments and most will not need to do anything to receive them. Payments begin today, July 15, and will continue each month until December. The final six months of payments will come in a bulk payment at the end of the tax year.

Dates of payments for the Child Tax Credits

  • Thursday July 15
  • Friday August 13
  • Wednesday September 15
  • Friday October 15
  • Monday November 15
  • Wednesday December 15

However, if you have not filed tax returns in 2019 or 2020 you will need to register online to make sure you claim the money you are rightly able to receive.

How to apply

If you’ve filed tax returns for 2019 or 2020, or if you signed up to receive a stimulus check from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) then good news; you will get this tax relief automatically. You do not need to sign up or take any action.

Eligibility criteria for those who file taxes:

  • $75,000 or less for singles,

  • $112,500 or less for heads of household, and

  • $150,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return and qualified widows and widowers.


For those who do not file taxes, the IRS has separate section of their website to apply.

Eligibility criteria for those who do not file taxes:

  • Same financial criteria as above,
  • Are not required to file a 2020 tax return, didn’t file one and don’t plan to; and
  • Have a main home in the United States for more than half of the year.

Those who make more will see a decrease of $50 of the credit for everyone $1,000 over the limit. The IRS’ Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant can be used to determine if a family will receive payments, and if so, how much. The new tool is now available in English and Spanish.

Use our helpful calculator to see how much your family is eligible for.

How to opt out

Unlike the stimulus checks, any over payments on the credit would come out of next year’s tax refund or even have to be repaid out of pocket. This will happen if your household income increases between filing your 2020 and 2021 tax returns.

Opting out doesn't mean you will not receive any money however. If you are still eligible come the end of the 2021 tax year you will receive all that you are owed as a lump sum. If you have recently changed job or you know your tax returns this year will be different to 2020 then this could be the option for you.

Click here to access the portal to opt out of the scheme.

Be aware that the deadline to opt out for the July payment has already passed so you will still receive the July payment but not the remainder.

What to do if you have not received your money

It could take up to three business days for the money to appear in your account.

“With direct deposit, it’s always good to check with your bank to make sure there isn’t a delay, for some reason,” said IRS spokesman Eric Smith.

Payment status can also be checked on the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (needs login).

If your credit is being sent by mailed check then it could take up to 21 working days to arrive. The IRS says 9 out of 10 people will have received the credit within 21 days.

The IRS has a link for you to check how close your money is from reaching your account.