New IRS tool for child tax credit tells you if you’re eligible for funds. How to use it

Are you getting a child tax credit cost July 15?

Sarah Tew/CNET

With the primary child tax credit payment arriving for thousands and thousands of households in July, it’s time to shortly discover out if you’ll additionally get a verify. Rather than ready till July 15 to see if you qualify, you can use a brand new IRS tool — known as the Advance Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant — that tells you if you’re eligible for the payments.

If you discover out that you qualify for the checks, you can use CNET’s child tax credit calculator to see how a lot cash you can anticipate to get. Unfortunately, it’s too late to opt out of receiving the July check if you had been hoping to get a lump sum in 2022 as a substitute. But there’s nonetheless time to unenroll from the August via December funds utilizing the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, to obtain one lump cost for them as a substitute of a number of checks.

We’ll clarify how you’ll use the IRS’ Eligibility Assistant tool. If you haven’t got an account with the IRS but, you can set one up using — it’s broadly utilized by the IRS, US Treasury and Social Security Administration. Also, here is what you want to find out about how the child tax credit will affect your taxes in 2022.

Child tax credit eligibility guidelines

Before you start, be sure you’ve received a duplicate of your 2020 tax return, or your 2019 tax return if you have not filed your taxes this 12 months but (for instance, if you filed an extension).

If you haven’t got your tax return readily available, you can use your submitting standing and the variety of youngsters you claimed, together with an estimate of your whole earnings for 2020. 

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How to use the Advance Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant tool

Once you’ve figured out what your income was for either 2020 or 2019, you can check your eligibility. Here’s how.

1. Go to the Advance Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant tool page on the IRS website.

2. Tap or click Check Your Eligibility.

3. You’ll then need to answer a few questions about yourself and your taxes. For instance, the form will ask if you claimed the child tax credit on a previous tax return.

4. You may need to provide additional information, depending on how you answered the questions. Here’s where you fill in your filing status, adjusted gross income and the number of children you claimed on your tax return, along with their ages.

5. After you hit Next, the tool will let you know whether you qualify based on the answers you provided. It’ll also tell you the amount each kid under 6 qualifies you for, and how much each kid 6 and older qualifies you for. It’ll also show you the income phaseout details.

6. From here, you can tap or click Manage your advance child tax credit payments, which will take you to the child tax credit portal that lets you unenroll from the monthly payments if you prefer to get one large check instead of several smaller ones, or submit your information if you’re a nonfiler.

What the eligibility tool doesn’t tell you

  • The personalized total you’ll get from the child tax credit payment. It leaves it up to you to do the math.
  • How much the payments will be reduced if your income exceeds the limit.
  • All of the payment dates for the child tax credit.
  • That only one parent can claim the money for any given child in a shared custody situation.
$300 cash with calculator

The tool leaves it up to you to calculate the total amount you’ll get for the child tax credit.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What if you have a baby after the payments begin?

If you have a baby who’s born after the July 15 payment goes out, you’ll need to update your information in the IRS Update Portal. Once the agency has your updated details on file, you’ll be eligible to receive the future payments. For instance, if your baby is born July 20, you could start getting the payments in August. You’ll have to wait until 2022 to get the July payment. 

If your baby is born in December, you can claim the money you didn’t get from July through December when you file your taxes next year. If you have a newborn in January 2022, you won’t be eligible for the larger sum of money that was approved with the American Rescue Plan, but you could be eligible for the original amount — unless the enhanced child tax credit is extended.

For more details, here’s what the payment schedule looks like for the child tax credit. Also, here’s what to know if you share custody of a child and how to spend the child tax credit money when it arrives.

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