IRS child tax credit 2021: Payment schedule, opt-out deadlines and more

Parents of infants born in 2021 could also be eligible for advance child tax credit funds.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you qualify for the child tax credit, you have seemingly obtained your July 15 cost via direct deposit or within the mail. But when will the second cost arrive and what is the deadline for opting out of the funds if you wish to wait till subsequent yr to get your cash?

The quantity of the child tax credit checks is far larger this yr, with half the cash arriving in month-to-month funds from July via December. The different half is available in one payout throughout tax season in 2022. But early funds are elective; mother and father can opt out in the event that they’re ineligible or in the event that they’d moderately get the entire quantity throughout 2021 tax time. (Estimate your complete with CNET’s calculator.) If you are still ready for July’s examine, we are able to additionally reply a few of your burning questions about the money

You may additionally be apprehensive about how early funds now will affect your 2022 taxes, particularly because the IRS bases this yr’s funds in your 2020 tax return. Fortunately, you should utilize the web IRS portals to replace your info and estimate your complete quantity. We additionally recommend how parents might want to use the money and inform you how one can declare as much as $16,000 more for child care costs. This story is up to date frequently. 

What if I do not get any of my child tax credit cash?

One factor to remember is that the IRS is focusing on the cost dates (see above). If you’ve direct deposit arrange with the IRS, you may see a pending cost earlier than the precise deadline. That means you won’t have the ability to entry the cash straight away, however that it is in course of.

It might take longer in your cost to reach if you happen to’re receiving the examine by mail. If sufficient time has handed and you are involved there could also be an issue, you should utilize the IRS Update Portal to appropriate your direct deposit info. You may also file an IRS cost hint if you happen to’re apprehensive. Check right here for more information about missing payments

When will the subsequent child tax credit cost be disbursed?

You will not get all the child tax credit cash this yr. You’ll get half of the cash in month-to-month funds, and the remaining in 2022 if you file your taxes, except you inform the IRS you need to unenroll from the advance monthly payments to get one lump sum subsequent yr. The subsequent examine can be disbursed on Friday, Aug. 13.

So in different phrases, your largest cost arrives subsequent yr — as much as $1,800 per child. Until then, you get six smaller funds complete this yr to begin utilizing straight away. The concept is to carry you cash sooner to fulfill bills like hire, meals and day care, which is why the checks are “advance payments.”

Child tax credit cost schedule

Monthly Maximum cost per child 5 and youthful Maximum cost per child; 6 to 17
July 15: First 2021 examine $300 $250
Aug. 13 $300 $250
Sept. 15 $300 $250
Oct. 15 $300 $250
Nov. 15 $300 $250
Dec. 15: Last 2021 examine $300 $250
April 2022: Second half of cost $1,800 $1,500

How to choose out of the child tax credit earlier than the August cost

Advance funds are elective, and although the vast majority of US households are eligible many nonetheless do not qualify. If you are undecided that you just qualify you could choose to choose out to keep away from repaying the IRS. The subsequent deadline to choose out is Monday, Aug. 2, however you should utilize the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal on-line anytime between now and December to unenroll. You might need to unenroll if you happen to do not meet revenue or different eligibility necessities. 

To cease advance checks, the IRS says you should unenroll three days earlier than the primary Thursday of the next month. See the chart under for deadlines. Once you unenroll on this yr’s advance funds, you may’t but reenroll, although the IRS says it is going to make that choice accessible later. Also be aware that for {couples} who’re married and submitting collectively, every father or mother should unenroll individually. It is just too late to choose out of the July cost, however you may unenroll for the remainder of the month-to-month funds. 

Child tax credit cost 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 can I do with the IRS child tax credit portals? 

In June, the IRS opened more online tools and portals. The first portal is for folks not normally required to file an revenue tax return, together with low-income households. And the Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant software — accessible in English and now in Spanish — helps households rapidly decide whether or not they qualify. 

The Child Tax Credit Update Portal at the moment lets households see their eligibility, handle their funds and unenroll from the advance month-to-month funds. Parents may also replace their direct deposit info utilizing the portal. In the approaching months, it is going to enable households to replace different info if their circumstances modified — for instance, if a brand new child has arrived or will arrive in 2021 and is not mirrored in your 2020 tax return. You’ll additionally have the ability to replace your mailing tackle, marital standing, revenue or dependents to have probably the most up-to-date eligibility info. 

This helpful IRS PDF additionally describes what the portals do. 

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Child tax credit: Everything we know


Is my income too high to qualify for enhanced payments?

Income limits determine how much you will receive and if you even qualify, though there is no limit on the number of children you can receive credit for as long as you’re eligible. 

Single filers earning less than $75,000 per year, heads of household earning less than $112,500 per year and married couples earning less than $150,000 a year will be eligible for the full amount. 

The amount you’ll get will then phase out for higher incomes. Your child tax credit payments will phase out by $50 for every $1,000 of income over those threshold amounts, according to Joanna Powell, managing director and certified financial planner at CBIZ. In other words, your family could still receive some money above those income limits, but it won’t be for the maximum payment. 

How much money can I get for each of my dependents? 

How the child tax credit payments will be divided between 2021 and 2022 might be confusing. For each qualifying child age 5 and younger, up to $1,800 (half the total) will come in six $300 monthly payments this year. For each kid between the ages of 6 and 17, up to $1,500 will come as $250 monthly payments six times this year. 

The IRS bases your child’s eligibility on their age on Dec. 31, 2021, so a 5-year-old turning 6 in 2021 will qualify for a maximum of $250 per month. For both age groups, the rest of the payment will come with your 2021 tax refund when you claim the remainder of the credit in 2022. 

If you have a dependent who is 18 years old, they can qualify for $500 each. Dependents between the ages of 19 and 24 may qualify as well, but they must be enrolled in college full time. Here’s more on the financial details for qualified dependents

2021 child tax credit maximum payments

Ages 5 and younger Up to $3,600, with half as $300 advance monthly payments
Ages 6 to 17 Up to $3,000, with half as $250 advance monthly payments
Age 18 $500 one-time check
Ages 19 and 24, full-time college students $500 one-time check

Can parents of babies born anytime in 2021 get the child tax credit payments?

If you have a baby in 2021, your newborn will count toward the child tax credit payment of $3,600. Children who are adopted can also qualify if they’re US citizens. You’ll be able to update the IRS on a new dependent once that aspect of the Update Portal is available. 

If the IRS overpays me, will I have to pay the money back?

Since the IRS uses your 2019 or 2020 tax return, your family may not qualify for the child tax credit payment when you file your 2021 tax return in 2022. In this case, you may have to repay the IRS some or all of the credit. The child tax credit rules aren’t as flexible as the stimulus check rules regarding overpayment. One example of when this would happen is if you and the other parent of your child (who is not your spouse) were both paid for the child tax credit for the same dependent.

To avoid this tax inconvenience, make sure all your information is updated before the payments start arriving. The Update Portal will let you make adjustments in the coming months to verify your new income and marital status. 

If I don’t file my taxes, can I still get child tax credit checks?

Payments will be automatic for those who filed their 2020 tax returns by the May 17 deadline (or those who claimed all dependents on a 2019 tax return). Parents who didn’t file taxes should use the new IRS tool, called the “Non-filer Sign-up tool,” to get their money, even if you’re not usually required to file. This will let the IRS know your income level and how many dependents are in your household who count toward the child tax credit benefits. 

You could also file a tax return to get the full monthly child tax credit payment you’re owed. 


You can opt out of advance child tax credit payments to get one lump sum during tax time. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

How do child tax credit payments work if I have joint custody of a kid?

For the first two stimulus checks, some parents who shared custody of a child but weren’t married to each other were entitled to each claim money for the same child. That was only if they alternated years for claiming the dependent — in other words, if one parent claimed the child on their taxes in odd years and the other claimed the child on their taxes in even years.

This is no longer allowed for the third check, and we’re told it won’t work that way for the child tax credit payments either. Here’s what we know so far about child tax credit and shared custody situations.

If the child switches homes this year, the parents will need to agree on who will claim the child on their taxes this year. The parent that claims the child and receives the child tax credit payments will need to fill out Form 8332 and include it with the tax return. If you don’t qualify or want to get the money in one lump sum, you can also opt out of early payments. Remember, if you’re not eligible but receive the money, you may have to pay the IRS back during tax time. 

Will monthly child tax credit checks have an effect on my 2022 taxes? 

If you’re eligible for advance payments and choose to get the extra cash this year, you’ll receive the second half of your total on your taxes next year. You’ll need the total amount of child tax credit money received in 2021 to compare it with how much you can claim. The IRS will send a letter with your personalized estimate; you’ll need it for your 2021 tax return. You may have to repay the IRS if you got more than you were supposed to. 

On the other hand, if you opted out of early child tax credit payments you’ll get the money in one lump sum.

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