What do I do if someone else claimed my child for Child Tax Credit?

Only one tax return can claim a child in any given tax year. Sometimes two different households try to claim the same child because they are trying to share payments, claiming rights are unclear, or there is foul play.

What you do next depends on when someone else claimed your child.

If someone claimed your child last year (in 2021 on their 2020 tax return) and prevented you from getting Child Tax Credit (CTC) monthly payments, the most important thing is to file quickly this year. If you file a tax return before the other person claiming your child, you will receive the full CTC amount (including all of the monthly payments you missed out on last year).

If you try to file a tax return this year and find that someone has already claimed your child and you wish to contest the claim to the IRS in order to receive your payments, the process is more complicated. First, you have to mail a paper copy of your return to the IRS. Next, the IRS will begin a process to determine who is allowed to claim this dependent. This process can be difficult for you and for whoever else claimed your dependent. If you want to pursue this process, see here for more info: https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams/identity-theft-dependents. A Volunteer Income Tax site or the Taxpayer Advocate Service can assist you with the process.

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