Now that December 15 has come and gone, there’s an important detail about the federal government’s pandemic response that Americans should be aware of, if they aren’t already: No new stimulus checks are coming. Certainly none anytime soon.
Sure, some Americans might get one more or an assortment of payments here and there, but those are by and large connected to money they should have already received. Or it’s to correct a mistake or change in status. And it will impact a minority of Americans. Nothing like the broad waves of checks that went out this year to tens of millions of Americans, wholesale. This week brought all that to a close. According to the IRS, new child tax credit stimulus checks (totaling around $16 billion) went out on Wednesday. This final tranche of payments for 2021 targeted some 36 million US households, with most of these payments coming in the form of direct deposits. Importantly, this payment closes out a six-check monthly series that began in July. Now, let’s talk about what’s next.
Stimulus check update
President Biden has already proposed extending the monthly child tax credit payments into 2022. It’s part of his $1.7 trillion domestic spending plan that’s stuck in the Senate at the moment. That’s why, for the time being, the federal government is tapped out on stimulus checks. Even though Democrats control both chambers of Congress, the margin is razor-thin in the Senate. Democrats can’t afford to lose a single vote on a bill like this — and right now, they are.
West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is the main obstacle to the passage of a bill that would expand these checks for another year. Ironically, he’s actually reportedly in favor of new child tax credit checks in 2022. His main beef with the overall Biden bill is its staggering price tag. That’s where things stand, for now. Biden is trying to keep Manchin on-side — while giving up the bare minimum to secure Manchin’s support in such a way that leaves the child tax credit expansion intact.
But again, we’re not there yet.
Now, it might indeed come to pass that Biden finally whips up the support he needs to get this framework finally passed. It’s already sailed through the House. And the IRS has told Congress it needs the new language to be approved by no later than a few days after Christmas, in order for the stimulus check issuance to continue on January 15 as it has been.
In other words, the clock is ticking.
Child tax credit payments in 2022?
For now, here’s what everyone needs to know about 2022. Because no matter what happens with the Senate legislation, we’re still going to be talking about and dealing with this year’s child tax credit payments next year.
First, did you get all six monthly child tax credit payments you were eligible for this year? If not, don’t worry. You’ll catch up next year. Whatever amount you didn’t get this year that you should have gotten? You’ll simply need to claim it on your federal tax return next year, as a tax credit.
This goes for people who missed anywhere from one check to all six.
Now, as for everyone else? Those of you who got the full series of six payments, you’ll still need to do something next year, as well. However much money you got in total from the checks this year, you’ll claim that same amount of money on your federal tax return next year.
That way, you’re benefitting from the second half of the expanded child tax credit that was approved this year.