3 reasons why you may need to opt out of child tax credit payments this weekend


Parents can unenroll from the September fee earlier than the Aug. 30 deadline. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

The third child tax credit payment is slightly over two weeks away, however the deadline to opt out of future payments is this coming Monday. Are you beginning to surprise if you ought to have opted out of the cash this yr and as an alternative went with one lump sum in 2022? The advance payments may be an enormous assist to cowl payments, back-to-school expenses and extra. But opting out has its perks for subsequent yr. You will not have to fear about repaying the advance payments and you’ll get a bigger tax refund in 2022.

Remember, you will not be turning down the credit if you opt out; you’ll simply be delaying when you get it. Plus, these advance payments usually are not a tax deduction, however an precise money credit, and so they will not rely as revenue in your tax return. You may select to unenroll in case your revenue or circumstances have modified since your 2020 tax return. Think about whether or not your family particulars may be completely different this yr, or if you’re saving for a big expense. 

For dad and mom that select to preserve the payments rolling in, month-to-month payments may very well be up to $300 per kid.  But if you’re on the fence, you can use the IRS Update Portal to opt out. Keep in thoughts that the software requires organising an ID.me account. If you determine to use the advance payments to cowl bills now, listed here are some methods to spend your child tax credit money. This story was not too long ago up to date. 

3 reasons why dad and mom ought to opt out of advance month-to-month payments

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

  • You’d relatively have one massive fee subsequent yr as an alternative of seven smaller payments spanning 2021 and 2022. This may very well 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 yr and don’t desire to cope with having to replace your info within the IRS portal. This may very well be the case for divorced dad and mom who alternate custody of a child. 
  • You’re involved the IRS would possibly ship you an overpayment primarily based on previous tax info from 2020 or 2019, and you don’t desire to fear about paying any of that cash again subsequent yr. That may very well be the case in case your family revenue goes up as a result of you’ve returned to work or received 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 top of 2021. 


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What does opting out now mean for your taxes?

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 

How can parents opt out of child tax credit checks?

If you want to unenroll before the Sept. 15 check, 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 the first few payments 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 sometime in September, 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 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 

Can I opt out or update my information without the IRS Update Portal?

For now, the Child Tax Credit Update Portal is the best way to quickly make any changes that have 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. Right now, you can use the portal to update your banking information and 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.

Should married parents opt out separately?

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 can families who don’t file taxes do to get child tax credit 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 smartphone. 

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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