Parents are opting out of monthly child tax credit funds. Here are 3 reasons why

Parents will have the ability to unenroll earlier than the September fee in the event that they achieve this by Aug. 30. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Many mother and father have been speaking about unenrolling from the advance monthly child tax credit payments this 12 months. Of course, some households want the additional cash upfront to cowl payments now and do not need to wait to get it. But what should you have been relying on the credit coming with a bigger tax refund in 2022 as a substitute? Or what should you’re nervous that you just’re not eligible and do not need to owe the IRS? You nonetheless can choose out for the September via December monthly funds, which may very well be as much as $300 per kid

Remember, you will not be turning down the credit, you will simply be laying aside whenever you get it. First, take into consideration whether or not your family particulars is likely to be totally different this 12 months, or should you are saving for a big expense. The IRS bases your advance funds on older tax data, both from a 2020 or 2019 return, and so much has modified since pre-pandemic instances. Also know that these advance funds are not a tax deduction, however an precise money credit, and so they will not rely as earnings in your tax return.

The second advance fee for August has already been issued. But you’ll be able to nonetheless unenroll by Monday, Aug. 30 earlier than the September examine and the remaining of 2021 funds. We’ll inform you all of the unenrollment deadlines beneath. The key to managing your child tax credit is the IRS Update Portal, which first requires establishing an account. If you determine to make use of the advance funds to cowl bills now, right here are some methods to spend your child tax credit money. This story was up to date not too long ago. 

3 reasons to choose out of monthly child tax credit funds

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

  • You’d reasonably have one giant fee subsequent 12 months as a substitute of seven smaller funds 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 a much bigger refund at tax time. 
  • You know your family’s circumstances or tax scenario will change (or they’ve already modified) this 12 months and do not need to take care of having to replace your data within the IRS portal. This may very well be the case for divorced mother and father who alternate custody of a child. 
  • You’re involved the IRS would possibly ship you an overpayment based mostly on previous tax data from 2020 or 2019, and you do not need to fear about paying any of that cash again subsequent 12 months. That may very well be the case in case your family earnings goes up since you’ve returned to work or bought 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 tip of 2021. 

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How to unenroll from the monthly payments

If you want to unenroll, 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 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 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 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

Both parents need to opt out separately if they’re married

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 now means for tax season 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 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 don’t file taxes can still get the credit this year

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. 

The IRS portal will let you update other household details

The Child Tax Credit Update Portal will also let you add 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. Sometime this month, 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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