Now, families are asking: What about 2022?
The American Rescue Plan signed into law earlier this year enhanced the 2021 child tax credit, increasing its maximum value, making it fully refundable and expanding eligibility. Families could qualify for up to $3,000 per child between ages 6 and 17 and $3,600 per child under 6 — and receive half of the sum before actually filing their taxes.
But the changes weren't permanent. Without further congressional action, the child tax credit will revert back to $2,000. The monthly installments will end. And according to a growing chorus of advocates, that's unacceptable.
Leading the charge is President Joe Biden himself, who included a proposal to extend the enhanced child tax credit through Dec. 31, 2022, in his Build Back Better plan. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill just before Thanksgiving.
Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., released a statement Monday pushing the Senate to take action.
"It is time for the Senate to act before the expanded Child Tax Credit payments expire at the end of December," DelBene said. "American families cannot afford to lose this critical middle-class tax cut, which has cut child poverty in half and helped millions of families afford childcare, pay their bills and put food on the table."
The timing is a major issue. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said he wants a vote before Christmas — but holdouts like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., have reportedly expressed hesitation. Tweaking the legislation to shore up votes like Manchin's could delay passage into the new year, meaning families may start 2022 without a firm plan for child tax credit installments in place.
"Families need to know that critical programs like the child tax credit will continue uninterrupted," Schumer told the Senate Monday.
While waiting for Congress, there's not much families can do in the meantime.
If you received monthly child tax credit payments in 2021, remember to claim the other half of the money when you file your income taxes next spring. Look out for a Letter 6419 from the IRS to arrive in January with information about how much you received.
If your family didn't get the CTC payments but you believe you qualify — or if you opted out — you can claim the entire credit on your taxes.