According to this Stack Exchange post, it appears that one cannot get the 2021 monthly "Advance Child Tax Credit Payments" for a child born or adopted in 2021 if they also filed taxes last year.

After combing through the IRS website, this is what the rules appear to say...

  • If you didn't file taxes last year, but had a child in 2021 you can get the payments (adjusted for income of course).
  • But if you filed taxes last year and had a child in 2021 you can't get the payments for the new child. This appears to apply regardless of income level. For example, even someone who made $20,000 last year, but filed taxes, and then had a baby this year can't get the payments for their new child.
  • If you filed taxes last year and claimed your kids on them you can get the monthly payments for those kids only, but not any new ones.

Whatever the case, you are still eligible to get the full amount as a lump sum after filing taxes in 2022.

Ostensibly, giving out the money early and in monthly increments gives economic stability to families as the economy recovers. If you have to wait until next year to get the money it sort of defeats that.

Many mothers feel they need to take time off to be with their newborn. If you combine that with the fact that a lot of schools switched to virtual, and that many daycare locations closed, quite a lot of mothers now have no choice but to stay home and watch their children rather than working. Plus it's my understanding that having a newborn can be expensive. Of all people, one would think new mothers would be in most need of the monthly payments. Its very perplexing that they be excluded simply based the fact that they filed their taxes last year.

The whitehouse.gov web page says that you can apply for the payments even as late in the year as November 15th. But that process is only available to people who didn't file taxes last year. If the government could process requests from non-filers there does not appear to be any practical reason they couldn't also process requests from filers (other than that they chose to write the law in a way that forbids it).

Is this just an oversight in the language of the law? Or was there some deliberate (possibly political) reason to exclude this group of people?

If the question was based on a false premise, and there was a actually a way for people who filed to update their info, I would accept that answer also.

  • 1
    I think it's simply because they use your 2020 tax return to determine your benefits. But if you didn't file a tax return last year, you can use the web site to apply for the benefits.
    – Barmar
    Nov 16, 2021 at 6:34
  • 1
    @Barmar What you described, is clearly what they are doing. It just doesn't make sense because it excludes a lot of people based on something that, from a technical standpoint, doesn't seem that hard to overcome. The IRS already had an online tool that would allow non-filers to apply. And the IRS already has a database with the info from those who filed last year. From a technical standpoint, it doesn't seem like it would have been that hard to just let anyone apply (regardless of filing status), and if you filed last year just update your info in the other database.
    – user4574
    Nov 16, 2021 at 7:24
  • The fact that they planned to allow it later in the year suggests that they just didn't have time to implement that ability immediately.
    – Barmar
    Nov 16, 2021 at 7:27

1 Answer 1


It's not malicious. Current payments are based on prior tax filings

The government opts to do this because

  1. It already has your tax filings, so any children would be dependents under your filing. If you have a new child, they will be reported on your filings next year

  2. The IRS can reach the vast majority of Americans with direct deposit

    a majority of U.S. adults (74%) opt for direct deposit when receiving tax refunds

What's strange about how this payment system works is

  1. The (up to) $300/mo per child payment is actually a partial pre-payment of the new credit

  2. The remainder of the credit can be claimed in 2022 taxes, which appears to include new mothers (who would claim their new dependent, and thus the whole credit as one lump sum)

    Q B12. Can I still get payments under pending eligibility? (added June 21, 2021)
    A12. No. You will not receive advance CTC payments until we are able to confirm your eligibility. If we are not able to confirm eligibility during 2021, you may be eligible to claim the full 2021 Child Tax Credit when you file your 2021 tax return.

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