As part of the 2017 tax overhaul, Congress doubled the existing child tax credit to $2,000 per child under age 17 at year-end. It is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes that a
range of filers can claim, because it begins to phase out at $400,000 of adjusted gross income for married joint filers and $200,000 for single filers.
This expanded child credit is in effect for 2021 and 2022, and it expires at the end of 2025.
In March of 2021, Congress added a second expansion of the credit just for 2021, as part
of its pandemic response. It’s up to $1,600 per child under age 6 and $1,000 per
child ages six through 17 as of Dec. 31, 2021. Also, just for 2021, the first expansion
of the child credit applies to dependents who were 17 at year-end.
This means that for 2021 the total maximum child tax credit is $3,600 per child
under six and $3,000 per child from ages six to 17 at year-end. The full credit is
refundable and available even to tax filers who have no income and owe no tax.