3 reasons to opt out of the child tax credit payments by Aug. 30

You can select to opt out and declare the credit subsequent 12 months if you happen to’ve began incomes extra earnings just lately.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you have not opted out of the month-to-month child tax credit payments but, you may doubtless get the Aug. 13 fee. But why would you need to unenroll? Maybe you’d moderately obtain your cash as a bigger tax refund in 2022 as an alternative of getting smaller month-to-month payments. You can also be involved about your eligibility and getting the unsuitable quantity this 12 months — perhaps your family state of affairs has modified in the previous few months, with a brand new job or a child.

Know these three issues: First, the IRS bases your advance payments on older tax data, both from a 2020 or 2019 return, and loads has modified since the pandemic hit. Second, these prepayments aren’t a tax deduction, however an precise money credit, and so they will not depend on earnings throughout tax season. Third, if you happen to unenroll from the 2021 prepayments — which might be up to $300 per kid month-to-month by December — you are not turning down the credit however simply laying aside whenever you’ll obtain it. 

While it is too late to opt out of getting the second test, you may nonetheless unenroll from the relaxation of the payments. The key to managing your child tax credit is the IRS Update Portal, which first requires establishing an ID.me account. If you resolve to use the advance payments to cowl bills now, listed here are some methods to spend your child tax credit money. This story has been just lately up to date. 

Three reasons households are selecting to opt out of month-to-month payments

Here are some circumstances the place unenrolling from the 2021 advance child tax credit program might be a good suggestion: 

  • You’d moderately have one massive fee subsequent 12 months as an alternative of seven smaller payments spanning 2021 and 2022. This might be the case for households saving up for an enormous expense, those that’ve budgeted that cash to repay excellent debt or are accustomed to getting an even bigger refund at tax time. 
  • You know your family’s circumstances or tax state of affairs will change (or they’ve already modified) this 12 months and don’t desire to cope with having to replace your data in the IRS portal. This might be the case for divorced mother and father who alternate custody of a child. 
  • You’re involved the IRS would possibly ship you an overpayment primarily based on previous tax data from 2020 or 2019, and you don’t need to fear about paying any of that cash again subsequent 12 months. That might be the case in case your family earnings goes up since you’ve returned to work or acquired a brand new job. It may be the case if a dependent you claimed beforehand is ageing out of an age bracket earlier than the finish of 2021. 

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How to opt out of the September payment and beyond

If you want to unenroll, you have until 9 p.m. PT on Aug. 30. You can opt out anytime in 2021 to stop receiving the rest of your remaining monthly advances, even if you’ve already received payment. To unenroll, the IRS said you must opt out three days before the first Thursday of the month in order to not receive the next month’s payment. See the chart below for more. 

If you miss a deadline, the IRS said you will get the next scheduled advance payment until the agency can process your request to unenroll. According to the IRS, currently, if you unenroll then you can’t reenroll yet. Starting in late summer, you should be able to opt back in.

Here’s how to unenroll:

1. Head to the new Child Tax Credit Update Portal and click the Manage Advance Payments button.

2. On the next page, sign in using your IRS or ID.me account. If you have neither, the page will walk you through setting up an ID.me account. You’ll need an email address, a photo ID, your Social Security number and a smartphone or tablet to verify your identity. 

3. On the next page, you can see your eligibility and unenroll from the monthly payments. 

Child tax credit payment unenrollment dates

Payment month Unenrollment deadline Payment date
July June 28 July 15
August Aug. 2 Aug. 13
September Aug. 30 Sept. 15
October Oct. 4 Oct. 15
November Nov. 1 Nov. 15
December Nov. 29 Dec. 15

For married parents, both need to individually opt out

Unenrolling applies only to one individual at a time. So if you’re married and file jointly, both you and your spouse will need to opt out. If only one of you does so, you will get half the joint payment you were supposed to receive with your spouse, the IRS said.

What opting out means for next year’s tax season

Those who choose to decline this year’s child tax credit installments (amounting to half the total) will still receive the same amount of money in the end, but are simply delaying when they receive it. So if you have a child who’s 5 years old or younger by the end of 2021 and your income meets the requirements, you’ll get $3,600 total when you file your taxes in 2022. 

Be aware that if you unenroll from getting the monthly child tax credit payments this year, you won’t get your full payment — or any payment at all — until after the IRS processes your 2021 tax return in 2022. The total amount will then arrive with your tax refund or can be used to offset any taxes you owe at that time; you’ll be in a situation similar to people who have had to claim missing stimulus checks this year.

However, if you chose to receive monthly advances, you’d get six installments of $300 payments each month this year and another $1,800 with your tax refund next year instead. Keep in mind that if you take the money in advance now, it could lower your tax refund next year because you may get more money than what is owed to you. It will also mean you’ll have fewer deductions since you’ve already collected the credit. 

You can use our child tax credit 2021 calculator to estimate how much you should get and see a breakdown of the monthly payments if you choose not to opt out and meet all eligibility requirements. 

Child tax credit payment schedule

Monthly check Maximum payment per child age 5 and younger  Maximum payment per child age 6 to 17
July 15 $300 $250
Aug. 13 $300 $250
Sept. 15 $300 $250
Oct. 15 $300 $250
Nov. 15 $300 $250
Dec. 15 $300 $250
April 2022: Second half of payment  $1,800 $1,500 

Non-tax-filer parents still have time to register for payments

If you filed your taxes before the May 17 deadline, you should have automatically received the advance monthly payments that started July 15. An online IRS portal for nonfilers is also available for families who don’t normally file income tax returns so they can register with the agency and receive payments. However, the tool has been criticized for not being easy to use — especially on a phone. 

Other ways the IRS Update Portal can help

The Child Tax Credit Update Portal will also let you add any changes that’ve happened since you last filed your taxes. For example, if you had a new baby in 2021 or gained a qualified dependent or if your income recently changed, the IRS wouldn’t have that on file yet. Before the end of 2021, the IRS will give the portal more functionality. By early August, you’ll be able to update your mailing address. Later in the summer, you’ll be able to add or subtract qualifying children, report a change in your marital status or income or reenroll in monthly payments if you previously unenrolled. 

For more child tax credit information, here’s what to know about the child tax credit payment timeline and how to estimate your total payment using CNET’s child tax credit calculator

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