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2021 Child Tax Credit Payment: How Much Is Your Kid Worth?

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We apologize for interrupting your regularly scheduled podcast program. We have BREAKING NEWS! What is up with the new American Rescue Plan (ARP) CHILD TAX CREDIT payment?

There is a new increased Child Tax Credit Payment via the American Rescue Plan (ARP) that's paying out right now. Like many of us, you may have received a payment that you weren't expecting.

  • Will you have to pay it back?

  • Will it cause your tax bill to be higher in April?

  • Should you spend it now?

  • What's the difference between the new increased ARP Child Tax Credit and the previous version of the Child Tax Credit?
Typically, taxpayers with income under $400,000 MAGI, married filing jointly, received a $2,000 tax credit per child under the age of 17 to offset your tax bill. This year, instead of getting the credit on your taxes, a portion of the credit will be paid out in advance over the next 6 months. If you count on the tax credit to offset your tax bill, you could be in for a big surprise!

In this podcast, Leading Edge's Co-Founder and CFO, Kevin Gormley CFP®,CPA aka "The Professor" covers all the details of the new increased Child Tax Credit as well as the existing credit. Plus, everything you need know to NOT be surprised at tax time!

Check out this Wall Street Journal article on the Child Tax Credit!

Check out our recent post on Tax Deductions

Podcast Transcription:

Voice: ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard the pilot money guys podcast, where our mission is to help clients build and protect wealth to achieve their dreams. And. This podcast is brought to you by leading edge financial planning without further ado, here is your host Robert equity

Rob Eklund: tip of the cap, Tia and welcome to the pilot money guys. Ad hoc special edition podcast regarding child tax credits. I'm your host, Rob Macklin. Joining me today. We are lucky enough to have certified financial planner and CPA. Kevin Gormley, nicknamed the professor. Which isn't too original as he used to be a professor, but still he's known to pontificate around the leading edge campus.

And he looks like a young Jim Gaffigan lives in Tennessee, loves long walks on the beach and usually has a good bourbon with it. Welcome Kevin.

Kevin Gormley: Hey Robin. Yeah. It's, it's great to be here with you guys. A big, big fan boy of the pilot money guys. First time, long time and all that other crap.

Rob Eklund: Perfect. Perfect.

We got a, of course we've got anchoring. The podcast is our financial wonder. Boy, Ben Dickinson. Welcome Ben. Good to be

Ben: here. Anchoring it down. Like keeping it anchored. I like it. Charlie is out. Charlie's out. Charlie's out. Kevin's in. And this is a good time.

Rob Eklund: Good crew the crew. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, let's jump into it.

We've got a little airline news. This is an ad hoc, uh, podcast. We just brought it out because the child tax credits, if you're getting payments from the IRS, or if you make less than $400,000, you might want to tune in. But first we're going to jump into airline news. Ben, what do you got?

Ben: Airline news. So I, this, this one might not, might be debatable whether this is airline news, but this is, this is sort of aviation news.

Uh, maybe more rocket. Our man rocket, the myth, the legend, Jeff Bezos, rocketed into space, debatable. Whether he actually made it to space. I think there's been some debate on that. I know he went fat farther than Branson. Well, what are you guys saying, Nick? Did he make a space?

Rob Eklund: I don't know. Did he? Well, I can tell you it's not an astronaut.

At least the FAA says he can't wear the wings. No, can't

Ben: agree.

Kevin Gormley: He's like, why not? Why not Rob? Why can't he wear the wings? He

Rob Eklund: says, uh, passengers can't can't wear the wings. And unless you've demonstrate activities during the flight that were essential to public safety or contributing, attributed to human space, flight safety, he wasn't a pilot.

He wasn't commanding it. He wasn't working on it. Really. He was just passenger. So no wings for him,

Ben: man. No rings for you also just couldn't. It had one button that they had to press just to get the wings. I mean, they could have, he really should've thought of that. If he's this genius, billionaire, come on, just add one button in there,

Rob Eklund: cowboy hat for crying out loud, you should get the wings.

Kevin Gormley: You should get the wings at the blue, the cowboy.

, Rob, I do have a question for you. Um, has he, has he been up higher?

Oh, yeah, it's a little it's a little bit. Yeah.

Rob Eklund: Yeah. Tap out about 41,000 for myself.

Ben: He, how high did he go? I mean,

Rob Eklund: I was able to make it Branson. That's always a good thing,

Ben: right? Yes. Yes. Um, the billionaires like to get after each other, which I appreciate as a, as a simpleton, uh, here, I, I, I don't mind, I don't mind doing this, this.

I dunno exactly.

Rob Eklund: Did he really get the space Branson that is? Did he really make it? I don't know.

Ben: W we, we were debating before this, about the Karman line, uh, that Kevin was talking about to us. Uh, the Karman line apparently is a unofficially official line of S of, uh, where space begins. Yeah. I'm not sure.

Kevin Gormley: Yeah. Ben, it's a, it's a little known fact. That Theodore Von Karman actually established the Karman line. And it's, it's somewhat, yes, it's somewhat of a nebulous, uh, amount, but it's 50 miles up or roughly 80 kilometers. I don't know, 80 kilometers. That doesn't sound like very much, but, uh, that's, that's where the space line allegedly begins.

And I know, uh, Bezos was making fun of Brandon. And, uh, you know, look, I'm afraid to go, uh, even 30,000 feet. So I'm not making fun of any of these guys. The interesting part for me though, is a lot of people are like, well, how does this space flight solve world hunger? Like, you know, how does this solve world hunger?

How does this solve other problems? And I'm like, I don't really care. It was pretty cool to watch.

Ben: Yeah. Yeah. I go hungry and watch the show.

Kevin Gormley: I mean, what are the aviators think? Rob? What's been the, what's been the scuttlebutt around, uh, aviators, as far as all this. Do you even care?

Rob Eklund: I don't think we care too much, but maybe I'm wrong. I have, I've only flown a few, a few, uh, flights, uh, since it's happened, but I don't think we care too much other than we like to make fun of.

Maybe the shape of the rocket and whatnot, but

Kevin Gormley: yeah,

Ben: it was a little Dr. Evil, Alaska, no one, but

Rob Eklund: he's got some big windows like it. Excellent. Anything else? Any other aviation S news. I know United bots and planes, or is it planning to buy a lot of planes? Like 200 Max's

Ben: yeah. So that's exciting. I mean, hopefully it happens.

There's always, always some risks around. I'm not even gonna say the name of the plane. I don't want to jinx anything, but don't say, but yeah. Yeah, besides that, I mean, we, we, uh, luckily we, we recorded, uh, our, our last podcast here. What last was it? Last week? I think it was last what? Yeah. And so, yeah. Yeah. I mean, uh, not too much going on since then, maybe some, some different, uh, different fuel shortage, potential issues I saw on the west coast, but, uh, for the most part, it looks like things are going pretty smooth.

Um, how are the flights in Southwest? So you're,

Rob Eklund: they're, they're busy. Things are crazy right now. Uh, you know, I think the airlines are hopping, so hopefully that continues, uh, through the, through the Delta variant and all that good stuff, but we'll see. Absolutely. We'll see. Absolutely awesome. Sounds good.

Let's move it along. Uh, before we get to the exciting stuff, let us remind you. This podcast is brought to you by leading edge financial planning. We are fiduciary fee only advisors, and we want to know what keeps you up. When you were thinking about your finances, what questions do you have about your retirement savings?

Life insurance policies long-term care options, or estate planning, or why we call it? Ben Caldwell, give us a jingle 8 6 5 2 4 0 2 2 2 9 2 2 8 6 5 2 4 0 2 9 2 2. It's up to you to get these facets of your life in order or not. You decide to get a handle on these issues. We can help that's enough of that.

Mr. Professor. Kevin Gormley let's get into the child tax credits.

Kevin Gormley: Yes, sir. Um, so I think I'll just start out by saying I had more conversations during this tax season about people's kids and basically what their kids were worth to them. Um, because we talked a little bit about if a kid's a, you know, when I say kids 17, 18, 19 years old should be claimed as dependence and or should file themselves.

All the kids want. That money that was out there. So when we talk about taxes, we talk about tax credits and everybody goes to sleep. Uh, if somebody mentions that you might get some of that free money, all of a sudden everyone wakes up and that's really what this is about. This is about, uh, either that free money or maybe having to pay back money if you are a high income person.

So, so that's really how I would frame this discussion. If you're high income, you may not be getting some of these, uh, these friends.

Rob Eklund: Yeah. I feel like Ben should insert the little clip from Jerry Maguire. Show me the money right there

Ben: to meet the money. I just cause we met just because you make a lot of money.

It doesn't mean you shouldn't get any free money. I mean, come on. Right? Right. Well basis to get some free money to

Rob Eklund: you probably don't well, I don't mean to sidetrack you here, but for our listeners, um, who don't know that much about taxes, can you just explain real quick, the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction kind of different.

Kevin Gormley: Well, uh, I'll give it a shot. I hope I can explain it. Uh, but a tax deduction lowers your taxable income. So if you have a hundred thousand dollars of tax in taxable income, you have a $2,000 deduction, a hundred minus two is 98,000. And so you still have to pay taxes on that income, but a tax credit. Wow. A tax credit is if you have a hundred thousand dollars of income and you're going to pay $20,000 of tax.

The credit actually will reduce your tax dollar for dollar. So the credits is really where we come in and we say, uh, you owe a $20,000, no check that you owe $16,000. And so it can be like a four, $5,000 difference when you have credits.

Rob Eklund: Very nice. Excellent. Awesome.

Ben: So the tax credit, I've got a letter here that was sent by none other than the president directly.

Not me. That's a Charlie handwritten from what I can tell. Very good to handwriting, very clear, almost looks at times new Roman. Um, it kind of goes over some of these details, estimate some stuff. What's going on with this child. I don't have a kid, so this doesn't, this doesn't help me at all. But unfortunately, yet I'm thinking now though, I should start having a bunch of kids just so I can get these, these credits.

Rob Eklund: Well, I'm absolutely be

Kevin Gormley: a bad idea. I'm absolutely not going to touch that one. Cause that sounds like a political hot potato. But, um, but yeah, the thing is, is, uh, you know, I don't know how much children crock cost to raise. Uh, Costa rays, but, um, you know, I've heard, I've heard a million dollars over your lifetime.

I've heard other numbers as well. And so at tax time, we actually might get something for having children and that's really what these tax credits are about. So, so Ben, when, uh, the tax law changed, I think it was in 2017 or 18. Uh, they changed things where people even making up to $400,000, married, filing jointly could now get child tax credits.

Now other things were lost, but I'm not going to go into that. But, uh, so it's $2,000 per child that are under the age of 17 or 16 or less at the end of the year. So, uh, when the kids are over, then set older than 17. Uh, you only get $500. So what ends up happening with a lot of our clients who are high income is one year, uh, they don't know much tax the next year they owe a lot of tax and then they say, I think our CPA did something wrong here, Kevin.

Yeah. And they call me and they say, uh, are you sure this is right? And I say, let's take a look at it. And then we find, well, uh, you have two children that are now over the age, so you're no longer getting all these calls. So, uh, so anyway, that's really, there is a great benefit to having the child tax credits you, you saved money.

Rob Eklund: And I think that was a, the tax cuts and jobs act of 2017. They raised it from a thousand to 2000. So we're already moving the right direction,

Kevin Gormley: right? I am. Yeah, that's good, man. I love when people pull out that, uh, uh, legislative language there. Thank you, Rob.

Rob Eklund: My brother's

Kevin Gormley: a lawyer. Yeah. Yeah. So, so really what's happened in, in 2021.

Um, and this, this sounds like I'm an infomercial here, but for one year only for just one year only, uh, you get, yeah, you get extra, you get extra money. So, um, but, but there's lots of caveats as always. So if you, if you are a single and you make $75,000 or less adjusted, gross income, Uh, head of household 112,500 or less, uh, again, just a gross income.

We won't go into what that is or married, filing jointly 150,000 or less. Uh, you will get per child. Now you'll get $3,000 if they are 17 and below in 2021. So for one year only, it's not 16. It's now 17. And then if the kids are five or younger, You would get $3,600 in a child tax credit. So, um, now that caveat of $150,000 married, filing jointly and single 75 or less, um, I don't know what you guys think about how many clients we have that actually, uh, make less than that.

But it ain't many.

Rob Eklund: No, not, not a lot for us. Uh, but you know, those younger pilots out there, they're hitting that. They're below that 150 in, in, during COVID times, you know, some of our other clients, I think might've been a hundred below, 150. And depending on what the IRS is looking at there, they might've thought, oh, well, they make less than 150 based on their 20, 20, uh, income and or their two.

Yeah. Or 2020, income. So we're gonna give them this, tax credit, something

Kevin Gormley: like that. Right. Yeah, Rob. So, uh, what was really interesting last year? Interesting to a tax geek that is so take that with a grain of salt, is that sometimes like 2000, right now it's 2020 tax return. If he didn't file a 2020 tax return, it's the 2019 tax.

Yeah. So for people that actually made more in 20, sometimes it's better to not file your tax return. And we did a lot of that. Um, I don't really want to call it gaming the system. I like to call it a tax smart planning, but, uh, some could perceive it to be gaming the system, but it's based on 2020 tax return.

If you did not file one, which I did not file my own tax return yet it then is based on 2009.

Rob Eklund: Gotcha. So just kind of to summarize a little bit the American recovery act, which is in 2021, raised it from that 2000 to 3000. If we're just talking, uh, 17 and under now.

So you can, uh, you got the tax credit of $3,000. If you're 1700, unless you're under six and it's 3,600. Is that per child? Is that.

Kevin Gormley: Yeah, exactly. So let me, let me take it a different way here. Uh, frame it a different way. You still get your $2,000 per child. If they're 17 or younger, you then get that super bonus 2021, a APA, extra thousand dollars.

So, and the reason why I say this and it's called an enhanced credit, Rob is because if you make over $150,000, that enhanced part starts to go away. If you're married, filing joint, But you need to make over $400,000 before that $2,000 starts to phase out. Gotcha.

Rob Eklund: Okay. Fantastic. Now for those people that did make under 150 or maybe didn't file in 2020, and they saw, uh, an IRS, payment in July, how in the heck did they calculate it?

Kevin Gormley: Yeah, I'm going to, I'm going to make fun of myself as I always do. And mentioned that on July 16th, I looked at my own bank account and said, what's this $167. And so, um, I, I didn't, I didn't expect it, but what the IRS ended up doing is they said, all right, you're going to get this amount of tax credit.

We're going to divide that amount by, of tax credit by 12. And then we're going to pay it over six weeks. So Ben, I don't know if there's an easier way to say it than that, but boy, that sure is confusing. How would you, how would you say that? Only the IRS.

Rob Eklund: Yeah.

Ben: Maybe I'm just trying to ask a question with this, but so you're you get, you get half of essentially what you should be getting as the credit, if you, if over the next six months and then at tax time, is that going to come in the form of a refund or, or potentially reduce the amount you owe?

Is that right? Based on half of what you should be

Kevin Gormley: getting well, that that's, that's sorta correct, but I'm not really sure what you said. Uh, Rob, where you, where are you tracking that? Um, yeah,

Rob Eklund: , I think I tracked it. You get 50% of the credit that you would've got when you filed your taxes the next year during April, or whenever you file, but you're going to get that over the last thing.

You're going to get a prepaid over the next six months from July to December, you're getting that 50% broken up. Six payments is that Kevin,

Kevin Gormley: is that what you're tracking? That, that that's perfect. So let's, let's give an example. Examples are always easy. So let's say that you're going to get $2,000. You're you're over the $150,000 in whatever tax return.

So you're going to get $2,000. They will pay you a thousand dollars from July till December, and then next year, when you file your tax return, you get the other thing.

Ben: But what is the cause I was hearing that there is the major confusion point with these are the big challenge for some people is you may be getting these payments and then not expect that you're going to owe more in taxes or, or get more money back. Can you explain that part of the confusion there?


Kevin Gormley: Yeah. So the, uh, the most evil words in taxes is claw-back claw-back is always things that, uh, make, uh, everybody upset. And it, it particularly makes people that prepare taxes upset because we always get blamed. So if you were to get that thousand dollars extra, or let's say it's 1500, let's say, let's say you made a hundred thousand dollars in 2020.

And now you joined Southwest airlines and you're flying a lot of premium trips. And so now all of a sudden your income is I'm just going to make this up 450,000. So, so you went from making a hundred thousand to 450,000. So that, that thousand $500 that you got an advance.

You got to pay all that back when you do your 2021 tax return. So not only do you not get that 3000, you have to pay back 1500 when you arrive at your final destination of filing your tax return.

Ben: Yeah. What about you think there would be any penalties or anything on that if, if you have to pay it back.

Kevin Gormley: So I told you the most evil words and tax, I'll tell you the most friendly words in tax and that's safe. And so there is actually a safe Harbor where you'll not have any penalties on that you're doing, unless, unless you're, uh, unless you're cheating the IRS and you lie about something. But no, there's, there's no, there's no issues with that.

It's again, it's going to be when you file your taxes, uh, the, if you're married, the spouses are going to look at each other and say, uh, oh man, we all, all this money.

Rob Eklund: If I'm, if I'm, uh, thinking of this correctly, Kevin and Ben, uh, if I'm gonna make, if the last year I made less than 150,000, and this year I'm going to make over 150,000 and I'm getting those IRS payments, then I better be real careful what I do with that money.

I might want to, you can go, there's a couple things you can do, right, Kevin, and you could go on and go onto the IRS website and register and do all that, uh, get through that process. And then. Or you can probably put that money aside and make sure you don't touch it. Maybe make a little interest on it and then get ready to pay that come tax time next year.

Kevin Gormley: Yeah. So my, my advice to everybody is not to do anything, not to go cancel it, especially now that it's after July 15th, because you know, people will say, well, I got to check in the mail. I'm going to send it back. Please. Don't do any of that. Just to just accept the money as an interest free loan. If you get them.

And then at tax time, you, you basically end up settling up at tax time. So, uh, but, but yes, to answer your question, if you're, if you're getting, uh, you know, too much money, quote unquote, you could save that money and be prepared to pay some taxes next year. But of course, Rob, no one does that. Everybody gets the money and spends it.

And that's the whole reason why we, uh, we are getting this free money, which is not at all free because it's going to be on our taxes next year. Yeah.

Rob Eklund: Well little savings account, then what would you do with

Ben: it? What would I do with it? You know what I would do, I would throw it all into

Rob Eklund: not dose

Ben: on the rise, but,, I wouldn't do that.

I don't know. I think maybe a person that would, that likes you to refund back and this is just behavioral, but, and this is another thing just to think about, some people just. Hate owing on th on their taxes. And I agree the interest free loan , is exactly what you probably should do.

Um, you know, really take it, take advantage of it. But, um, if you're a person that hates to have to owe money, I would definitely consider turning that off. Or, I mean, is it worth it maybe up in any sort of withholding at all, just in case, uh, if you are getting that, would that be smart at all?

Rob Eklund: That could be a tactic.

Kevin Gormley: Yeah. So the more money you withhold, the less money you pay a tax time. Uh, so, um, that is absolutely a tactic and for certain people, uh, if they, if they get, if they don't get a refund, they're very upset. So, uh, But, you know, like you said, Ben, you should never overpay your taxes. You know, you can never be too thin.

You can never be too rich and, uh, you should never overpay your taxes. I think I just made up a third one. Yeah.

Rob Eklund: Nice. So, uh, again, not too many people listening probably are in this category, but if you do fall into that category where you're making really close to that 150,000, you should probably think to get to take advantage of these child tax credits.

So you want to get your ink. Lower than that 150,000. If you're close, if you're within, you know, maybe 10,000, maybe you've got a better number there, Kevin. Right.

Kevin Gormley: So Rob, the phase out starts, uh, at 150,000 and I think, I think that's just a great point for tax planning. Is, uh, you know, you don't always need to know their tax rules, but find yourself a tax geek that knows the tax rules.

And there are times that by, you know, and maybe you put a little bit more, more money in your 401k, or maybe you do something, maybe you give away a little bit more money in that year to lower your adjusted gross income. So you can be eligible for certain things. I think that's always a good thing.


Rob Eklund: Yeah. Things like IRA contributions, health savings accounts, those kinds of things. Yeah. Key. And that's where professor Gormley can really help all your tax for bedroom. Like it. Awesome. You haven't what else you got on this topic? Yeah, I know. It's really dense and there's a ton we could talk about, but uh, what

Kevin Gormley: else you have?

Yeah. So just a few things, maybe the top five things to know about this is, uh, if you're, if your kids are older than 18, Uh, you're out of luck. They're only worth $500 to you. Uh, maybe, maybe they're worth a little bit more, but if they're 18 or over in 2021, it goes back to 17 and 22, they're only worth $500.

, if, if children are claimed by another person, Sometimes we have mixed families. Well, obviously you're not going to be getting the tax credit in advance, but you would still get it. If you're going to claim that child, if you yourself are dependent on someone else, I would love to be a dependent on Jeff Bezos if he's listening.

But if you're a dependent on someone else, Yeah. Uh, if you have a brand new baby, uh, you're not going to get the advanced tax credit because the IRS is not aware. Congratulations on your brand new baby. Uh, you do, as they say in the tax business, you have a new deduction and in this case, a new child tax credit.

Um, and then the other thing is if your children are five or younger in 2021, you could get this, uh, you know, $3,600. You know, some of the websites where I've read, they talk about winning the lottery. If you have a really young child and you could get that 3,600, but for the most part, and here's the final takeaway point is most of our clients that we work with, Rob, this will not affect, right?

Because they make too much money and I'd love to discuss in another podcast, what making too much money means, because I sure say it a lot and nobody ever knows what the heck I'm saying. When I say it, you make too much money. They're like, Yeah, put it on the

Rob Eklund: books. Gavin, I like it. Ben, any, any final thoughts?

Ben: Just, just rethinking, uh, the new kids situation now. Um, I'm really seeing the dollar value in them. Um, you know, feed them cheap. That's what I'm going to say. And that way you can really, really make some money off of this tax credit. Um, but, uh, but no, no. It's good, great information.

It's that? And the fact that it's automated is definitely something to be aware of. You're getting it whether you want to or not, you have to pay it back.

Rob Eklund: So, yeah. Kevin, did you finish your, finish your thoughts there? You got some more,

Kevin Gormley: well, I have 16 more cards to go through, but I think, um, I think I'm good, Rob.

Rob Eklund: Perfect. All right. That's it. We're going to leave you with an anti quote today because we've been doing a lot of, uh, regular quotes, financial. This, one's not so much of a financial quilt, but it could be. And it's this from Mario Andretti. If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough.

Anyways, anything, any thoughts on that? Ben,

Ben: you know, just, I guess I, maybe I just don't get it. Maybe I'm not smart enough, but I'd rather be in control than going too fast where I'm out of

Rob Eklund: control. Definitely not a way to fly a plane.

Kevin Gormley: I don't think. Yeah. For, for our younger viewers, um, Mario Andretti was a race card. Yeah.

Ben: Yeah,

Kevin Gormley: I've used, I've used quotes from Mario Andretti and people have said, ah, what the hell is he talking about?

Ben: . That's it? We've reached our final destination on this ad hoc special edition of the pilot money guys podcast.

Rob Eklund: If you like, what you do. Hit the subscribe button. If you have any topics you want us to cover, you can contact or Remember, as Emerson said, the world makes way for those to know where they're going. So you may want to plan accordingly. Thank you for listening.

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this Podcast will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), or be suitable for your portfolio. Moreover, you should not assume that any information or any corresponding discussions serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Leading Edge Financial Planning personnel. The opinions expressed are those of Leading Edge Financial Planning as of 08/02/2021 and are subject to change at any time due to the changes in market or economic conditions.