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The $3,600 child tax credit is about to drop back to $2,000

February 22, 2022, 10:24 AM UTC

Soon after taking office in 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. For the 2021 tax year, that aid package upped the $2,000 child tax credit to $3,000 per dependent ages 6 to 17, and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children age 5 or younger. Instead of having parents wait until tax filing season in 2022, Congress ordered the IRS to send eligible parents up to half of that money last year in the form of either $250 or $300 monthly tax advances sent between July and December.

But those monthly checks are over now—with the last monthly installation going out to 36 million families in December.

Parents can still count on the remaining portion of their 2021 child tax credit this tax season. However, unless Congress acts, those expanded $3,000 and $3,600 child tax credits will go back to the pre-2021 rate of $2,000 per dependent.

“The new child tax credit enacted in the American Rescue Plan is only for 2021. That is why President Biden strongly believes that we should extend the new child tax credit for years and years to come. That’s what he proposes in his Build Back Better agenda,” writes the Biden team on the White House’s website.

The most recent version of the Build Back Better plan would extend the expanded child tax credits ($3,000 and $3,600) for the 2022 tax year. That said, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has been clear he’s not on board with the proposal and isn’t a big fan of the expanded child tax credit.

“I have always said, ‘If I can’t go back home and explain it, I can’t vote for it.’ Despite my best efforts, I cannot explain the sweeping Build Back Better Act in West Virginia, and I cannot vote to move forward on this mammoth piece of legislation,” wrote Manchin in a statement in December.

Democratic leadership could pass the Build Back Better bill through the reconciliation process without a single Republican vote in the U.S. Senate. However, that would require getting all 50 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, including Manchin, to vote for it. That’s why Manchin’s resistance to the bill has Capitol Hill operating under the assumption that the child tax credit is poised to fall back to $2,000 for the 2022 tax year (a.k.a. the return you would file in 2023). 

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