Confused about the Advance Child Tax Credit and the IRS letter you received?  You’re not alone. Here are answers to some of the most common questions people have:

  • What is it?

The Advance Child Tax Credit was an advance payment on a child credit that you might be eligible for. 50% of the credit was paid out over the last 6 months of 2021 to taxpayers who were eligible based on their 2020 tax returns.


  • Does it impact my 2021 taxes?

Yes, the amount that you received has to be reconciled on your 2021 1040. Your 2021 income will determine how much of the credit you are eligible for.


  • We had a baby during the year. Does that impact the credit?

If you had a child during the year, and are eligible for the child tax credit, that will be part of your 2021 1040.


  • Will my refund be smaller?

Maybe. The child tax credit increased from 2020 to 2021 from $2000 to either $3000 or $3600 depending on the age of your child. So it’s possible that your refund will be smaller, but that might be for other reasons.


  • What if my 2021 1040 shows I’m not eligible for some or all of the credit? Will I have to pay it back?

Yes. The IRS allowed taxpayers who thought they wouldn’t be eligible to opt out of payments.


  • What is Letter 6419?

Letter 6419 shows the amount that you received and the number of dependents used to calculate the amount.


  • Why did my spouse and I each receive Letter 6419 for the same amount? Is it a duplicate?

It is not a duplicate. Both amounts will need to be reported on your 1040. The IRS reports half of the credit received to each spouse in case the spouses change their status from MFJ to MFS, Single, or Head of Household.


  • I think the amount in the letter is wrong.

That’s possible. Remember, the amount in the letter is not the amount of a single payment that you received. It is either the sum of 6 payments or half of the sum of 6 payments (or the sum of fewer payments if you opted out part way through). So double check your bank account.


  • I KNOW the amount in the letter is wrong.

That’s possible. The IRS recommends that you go to the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal, login, and check the amount there. If that amount differs from your letter(s), use that amount.


  • What if the IRS portal agrees with my letter, but is wrong?

You have two options:

Option A: file your tax return with the amount shown on the letters and then file an amended return with the correct amount. Filing with the amount shown on Letter 6419 will insure the fastest processing of your return. If you choose this route, you should know that the IRS is taking 6-12 months to process amended returns.

Option B: file your return with the amount that you received. This will cause a delay in processing the return. It’s hard to say how long that delay will be and the IRS might insist that their figures are correct.