How do I opt out of the child tax credit monthly funds? We’ll explain how

You can select to opt out and declare the credit subsequent yr in case you’ve began incomes extra revenue not too long ago.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Opting out of the monthly child tax credit payments might sound such as you’ll by no means get that cash, however that is not true. Actually, it means you may as an alternative get one giant verify along with your tax refund in 2022 — and at least 1 million households have already made the resolution to unenroll. Why? It may very well be so simple as preferring to get a much bigger quantity in 2022, or it may very well be out of concern for an unexpected tax bill in the spring. 

Here’s how it really works: Through December, eligible households are getting a monthly advance credit of as much as $300 per child underneath 6, and $250 per child aged 6 by 17. The first verify already went out July 15. To opt out of getting the second verify on Aug. 13, you may must do so earlier than Monday, Aug. 2. Keep in thoughts that the quantity of the advance checks is predicated on 2020 tax returns or the most up-to-date yr the IRS has on file. We’ll explain why that is necessary beneath. 

The key to managing your child tax credit is the on-line Update Portal, which requires organising an account. Before reviewing the particulars and deadlines for opting out in 2021, take into consideration in case your family scenario is altering this yr, whether or not or not it’s a brand new job or a brand new child. If you determine to proceed getting the advance funds to cowl bills now, listed here are some methods to spend your child tax credit money. This story has been up to date not too long ago. 

Top causes households have unenrolled from the funds

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

  1. You’d relatively have one giant fee subsequent yr as an alternative of seven smaller funds spanning 2021 and 2022. This may very well be the case for households saving up for a giant expense or those that’ve budgeted that cash to repay excellent debt. 
  2. You know your family’s circumstances or tax scenario will change (or they’ve already modified) this yr and do not wish to take care of having to replace your data in the IRS portal. This may very well be the case for divorced mother and father who alternate custody of a child. 
  3. You’re involved the IRS may ship you an overpayment based mostly on outdated tax data from 2020 or 2019, and you do not wish 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 since you’ve returned to work or obtained a brand new job. It may be the case if a dependent you claimed beforehand is growing old out of an age bracket earlier than the finish of 2021. 

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Child tax credit: Everything we know


How to opt out of future child tax credit payments now

If you want to unenroll, your next shot is to do it by Aug. 2. 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 account. If you have neither, the page will walk you through setting up an 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 have to opt out of the payments

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 your 2022 tax return

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 

Parents who never file tax returns can still register for payments

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 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. 

More useful things to know about 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. 

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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