The IRS has provided instructions for returning advance child tax credit payments (CTCs) that the recipient did not qualify for or, for other reasons, wishes to return. 

Because of one or more of the following reasons some taxpayers who do not qualify for the 2021 advance of the CTC will get 2021 advance payments:

  1. IRS determines who qualifies for the advance payments based on taxpayers’ 2020 (or, in some cases, 2019) tax return,
  2. the 2021 CTC itself is based on taxpayers’ 2021 situation, and
  3. a given taxpayer’s 2021 situation will in some cases be different than their 2020 or 2019 situation, 

IRS says that the same procedures apply for returning these advance payments as applied to the return of the Economic Impact Payments that were provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (PL 116-136).

Specifically, IRS refers taxpayers to Economic Impact Payment Information Center – Topic I: Returning the Economic Impact Payment, which says:


If the payment was a paper check:

  1. Write “Void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  2. Mail the voided Treasury check immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
  3. Don’t staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
  4. Include a brief explanation stating the reason for returning the check. 

If the payment was a paper check and you have cashed it, or if the payment was a direct deposit:

  1. Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
  2. Write on the check/money order made payable to “U.S. Treasury” and write 2020EIP, and the taxpayer identification number (social security number, or individual taxpayer identification number) of the recipient of the check.
  3. Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the EIP.

IRS also refers taxpayers to the abovementioned Economic Impact Payment Information Center webpage for a list, by taxpayer’s state of residence, of where to mail returned paper checks.

Note: Presumably, the only change that an advance CTC returner needs to make to the above instructions is to write “2021 advance CTC,” instead of “2020EIP” on any personal check that the taxpayer submits to IRS.

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