The American Rescue plan increased the maximum Child Tax Credit amount in 2021 to $3,600 per child for children under the age of 6 and to $3,000 per child for children ages 6 through 17. The advance Child Tax Credit payments will generally be made on the 15th of each month. Eligible families will receive a payment of up to $300 per month for each child under age 6, and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 through 17. The first monthly payment of the expanded and newly-advanceable Child Tax Credit will be made on July 15. Most families will begin receiving monthly payments automatically without any further action required.
Coming soon, families will be able to use the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to check the status of their payments. In late June, people will be able to update their bank account information for payments starting in August. In early August, a feature is planned that will allow people to update their mailing address. Then, in future updates planned for this summer and fall, they will be able to use this tool for things like updating family status and changes in income.
Update Portal allows people to unenroll
Instead of receiving these advance payments, some families may prefer to wait until the end of the year and receive the entire credit as a refund when they file their 2021 return. In this first release of the tool, the Child Tax Credit Update Portal now enables these families to quickly and easily unenroll from receiving monthly payments.
The unenroll feature can also be helpful to any family that no longer qualifies for the Child Tax Credit or believes they will not qualify when they file their 2021 return. This could happen if, for example:
- Their income in 2021 is too high to qualify them for the credit.
- Someone else (an ex-spouse or another family member, for example) qualifies to claim their child or children as dependents in 2021.
- Their main home was outside of the United States for more than half of 2021.
Accessing the Update Portal
To access the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, a person must first verify their identity. If a person has an existing IRS username or an ID.me account with a verified identity, they can use those accounts to easily sign in. People without an existing account will be asked to verify their identity with a form of photo identification using ID.me, a trusted third party for the IRS. Identity verification is an important safeguard and will protect your account from identity theft.
Anyone who lacks internet access or otherwise cannot use the online tool may unenroll by contacting the IRS at the phone number included in your outreach letter.
Who is getting a monthly payment
In general, monthly payments will go to eligible families who:
- Filed either a 2019 or 2020 federal income tax return.
- Used the Non-Filers tool on IRS.gov in 2020 to register for an Economic Impact Payment.
- Registered for the advance Child Tax Credit this year using the new Non-Filer Sign-Up Tool on IRS.gov.
An eligible family who took any of these steps does not need to do anything else to get their payments.
Normally, the IRS will calculate the advance payment based on the 2020 income tax return. If that return is not available, either because it has not yet been filed or it has not yet been processed, the IRS is instead determining the payment using the 2019 tax return.
Eligible families will receive advance payments, either by direct deposit or check. Each payment will be up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 through 17. The IRS will issue advance Child Tax Credit payments on these dates: July 15, Aug. 13, Sept. 15, Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec. 15.
The IRS urges any family who hasn’t yet filed their 2020 return – or 2019 return – to do so as soon as possible so they can receive any advance payment they’re eligible for. At the same time, the agency cautions that tax returns must be processed by June 28 to be reflected in the first batch of monthly payments scheduled for July 15, so eligible families filing now will likely receive payments in the following months. Even if monthly payments begin after July, the IRS will adjust the monthly amounts upward to ensure that people still receive half of their total eligible Child Tax Credit benefit by the end of the year.
Filing soon will also ensure that the IRS has their most current bank account information, as well as key details about qualifying family members. This includes people who don’t normally file a tax return, such as families experiencing homelessness and people in underserved groups.
For most people, the fastest and easiest way to file a return is by using IRS Free File, available only on IRS.gov. Besides qualifying them for these advance payments, using Free File will also enable them to claim other family-oriented tax benefits, if eligible, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Recovery Rebate Credit/Economic Impact Payments.
New tool helps non-filers register
For families who don’t normally file an income tax return, another easy option is to register for these advance payments using the new Non-filer Sign-up Tool, introduced recently, and available only on IRS.gov. Among other things, the tool asks users to supply current bank information, along with key details about themselves and their qualifying children. The tool then automatically fills in a very basic 2020 federal income tax return that is electronically sent to the IRS. The new tool was developed in partnership with Intuit and the Free File Alliance.
Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant unveiled
Before filing a return or using the Non-filer Sign-up Tool, families unsure of whether they qualify for either the credit or the advance payments may want to check out another new tool—the Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant. By answering a series of questions, the tool helps people determine if they qualify for the credit and the payments.
The IRS emphasized that because the Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant requests no personalized information, it is not a registration tool, but merely an eligibility tool. Nevertheless, it can still help an eligible family determine whether they should take the next step and either file an income tax return or register using the Non-filer Sign-up Tool.