Parents who don’t file taxes might not get their child tax credit funds. Here’s what to do

Parents who did not file taxes final 12 months might nonetheless be eligible for the elevated child tax credit funds.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The majority of US households, masking 60 million youngsters, have already acquired the primary enhanced child tax credit cost, which was issued by the IRS on July 15. But in accordance to a report published Thursday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, some 4 million youngsters in low-income households might miss out on the child tax credit this 12 months as a result of IRS has no data or particulars to challenge checks to these households. The subsequent month-to-month advance cost is scheduled to exit Aug. 13. 

In earlier years, low-income households or mother and father with out earnings might have acquired solely a portion of the credit, if any in any respect. With the expanded 2021 cost program, even in the event you earn too little to have filed a tax return in 2019 or 2020, you would nonetheless qualify. To register for this 12 months’s advance month-to-month funds as a nonfiler, you’ll be able to file a tax return or use the IRS nonfilers instrument, one of many on-line tools created by the IRS to help with the child tax credit rollout. We’ll clarify how under. 

Millions of households are counting on the credit to cowl fundamental bills like child care, faculty provides and clothes. Each month-to-month cost is an advance on a part of the overall credit, which is up to $3,000 or $3,600 per child, relying on age. Families that don’t obtain month-to-month funds this 12 months will get the complete quantity once they file a tax return in 2022. We suggest calculating your total here utilizing CNET’s personal instrument, and studying up on income rules and age requirements. This story has been up to date. 

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Child tax credit: Everything we know


How nonfilers can register for payments with the IRS tool 

The IRS launched its online tool back in June to help families that don’t normally file income tax returns to enroll in this year’s child tax credit program. The tool isn’t for families who already filed — or plan to file — their 2019 or 2020 income tax return. The IRS will use those tax returns to determine eligibility and disburse the coming payments to qualifying families.

The free “Non-filer Sign-up tool” is designed to allow the poorest families and those experiencing homelessness to register with their name, address and Social Security numbers. Individuals will be able to notify the IRS about any of their qualifying dependents and can provide their bank information for direct deposit of the payments once they start. 

The IRS has guidance on how to fill out the form. The first step is to create an account with an email address. The next few steps require entering your information, including an address or bank account to receive payments. You’ll also need to provide your adjusted gross income, or AGI, and sign the form electronically. 

1. To get started, create an account if you don’t yet have one. You’ll need a phone number, a password and an email address to confirm your information. Note that it can take up to 48 hours for the IRS to confirm your email address — and another 48 hours after submitting your information for the IRS to accept it.

2. On the next page — “Fill Out Your Tax Forms” — enter your information, including your filing status and details about dependents. Those fields are required, but you can skip the optional fields if they do not apply to you. For example, you can also add information about your”Recovery Rebate Credit” on the form, or your banking information to receive your payments electronically instead of in the mail. Tap Continue to Step 2 when ready.

3. On this page — “E-File Your Tax Forms” — you’ll provide your adjusted gross income, or AGI, and sign the form electronically by creating a new pin. If you did not file taxes last year, enter “0” in the box for AGI and skip the part about last year’s self-selected signature PIN. When you’re done, tap the Continue to E-File button to submit your information.

Problems with the nonfiler tool

The tool has come under fire by some advocacy groups for not being easy to use. The IRS recommends using the portal on a laptop or desktop computer, not on a phone (the platform on mobile devices is not as easy to read). Users will also need an email address, a solid internet connection, filing status and other tax-related information, which isn’t typically available for nonfilers. For now, it’s only accessible in English, though the instructions are available in multiple languages. 

Who shouldn’t use the nonfiler tool 

The IRS says you shouldn’t use the new nonfiler online tool if you already filed a 2020 income tax return or if your adjusted gross income, or AGI, exceeded $12,400 ($24,800 for a married couple). It also says you can’t use the tool if your main home is outside the US, if you or your spouse can be claimed as dependents or if you are requesting an advance child tax credit for a child born in 2021. (However, you can use the tool if you need to claim a recovery rebate credit.) 


The tax deadline has passed, but you can still file your taxes.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Unenroll from the monthly payments using the update portal

Families may unenroll from the child tax credit to defer the advance monthly checks and instead receive a lump sum of the money during tax time next year. You can unenroll at least three days before the first Thursday of each month. The sooner you unenroll, the better because it can take up to seven days for your request to process. In September, you’ll be able to re-enroll if you change your mind.

Here are the deadlines for unenrolling from the advance monthly payment program. 

Child tax credit unenrollment deadlines

Unenrollment date Payment date
June 28 July 15
Aug. 2 Aug. 13
Aug. 30 Sept. 15
Oct. 4 Oct. 15
Nov. 1 Nov. 15
Nov. 29 Dec. 15

What to know about next year’s taxes

The child tax credit payments are advances on next year’s tax refund for eligible parents. You’ll get half of the money over the course of seven payments in 2021 and 2022. If for whatever reason you receive more money than you’re eligible for, you’ll need to pay the IRS the difference based on your tax return when you file in 2022. However, there is a repayment protection program to help low-income families that may not be able to repay the extra money. 

Other ways to use the IRS child tax credit tools

We expect changes to the IRS website throughout the summer. For example, the IRS plans to add a Spanish version of the online tools. You can now view your child tax credit payment history and update your direct deposit details in the update portal. Later on, you’ll be able to change your mailing information and other household details through the update portal. 

For more information about child tax credit, here’s what to do if you’re missing a payment

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