$3,600 child tax credit score: Why and how to unenroll from monthly payments


Eligible households that select to choose out of advance monthly payments get one lump sum subsequent 12 months. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

The 2021 child tax credit payments will carry some monetary reduction to tens of millions of households throughout the US. The first monthly installment will arrive in a single week for up to $300 per child. But some households might want to choose out. It may be that your loved ones circumstances, like revenue or variety of children, are altering this 12 months and you don’t need to danger owing any of the credit score again to the IRS subsequent 12 months. 

After you unenroll from the advance cost program, you may wait till subsequent 12 months to declare the complete quantity (if nonetheless eligible) whenever you file your tax return. And a lump sum could possibly be a greater choice for households saving for an enormous expense. If you missed the deadline to choose out of the primary test, there’s nonetheless time to choose out earlier than the Aug. 13 test. You’ll use one of many new IRS portals that launched this month to achieve this. 

We’ll clarify how to use the portal to handle your payments and what to do in case you miss a deadline. We’ll additionally inform you why some households would possibly select to unenroll, in addition to the additional steps married {couples} could have to take. Here’s how you possibly can claim up to $16,000 in child care expenses as a tax break subsequent 12 months and some concepts for the very best methods to spend your child tax credit money. This story is up to date incessantly.

How to choose out of the monthly child tax credit score payments 

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

2. On the following web page, sign up utilizing your IRS or ID.me account. If you have got neither, the web page will stroll you thru organising an ID.me account. You’ll want an e mail handle, a photograph ID, your Social Security quantity and a smartphone or pill to confirm your identification. 

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

Three predominant causes you may want to choose out 

Here are some explanation why unenrolling from the monthly child tax credit score cost program could also be a good suggestion: 

  • You’d relatively have one massive cost subsequent 12 months as an alternative of seven smaller payments spanning 2021 and 2022. This could possibly be the case for households saving up for an enormous expense or those that have budgeted for that cash to repay excellent debt. 
  • You know your family circumstances or tax state of affairs will change in some unspecified time in the future this 12 months and don’t need to cope with having to replace your info within the portal.
  • You’re involved the IRS would possibly ship you an overpayment primarily based on outdated tax info, and you don’t need to fear about paying that cash again subsequent 12 months. That could possibly be the case in case your family revenue goes up or if a dependent ages out of an age bracket earlier than the tip of 2021. 


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Unenroll deadlines and how to opt back in

You can opt out anytime in 2021 to not receive your remaining monthly payments. To unenroll, the IRS said you must opt out three days before the first Thursday of the month to not receive the next month’s payment. See the chart below for more. If you miss that deadline, the IRS said you will get the next scheduled advance payment until the agency can process your request to unenroll.

The IRS said currently if you unenroll, you can’t reenroll yet. Starting in late summer, you should be able to opt back in.

Extra steps married couples will have to take

Unenrolling applies only to one individual at a time. So if you’re married and file jointly, both you and your spouse 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.

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

What opting out means for your payment in 2022

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 credits from July through December, 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 similar situation to those people who had to claim missing stimulus checks this year.

However, if you choose to receive monthly payments, 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. 

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  Maximum payment per child 5 and younger  Maximum payment for each child; 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 

Additional ways to use the IRS update portal

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. 

How non-tax-filing parents can register for the child tax credit

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

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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