Thinking about opting out of child tax credit funds? 3 good reasons why you should

Parents will be capable to unenroll earlier than the September cost in the event that they achieve this by Aug. 30. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The second child tax credit verify has been despatched to hundreds of thousands of households. But some dad and mom are contemplating opting out of advance month-to-month child tax credit payments this 12 months. Even although many dad and mom want the additional money to pay payments or childcare bills, some do not qualify or could select to attend to get the cash as a component of a bigger tax refund in 2022. The different purpose some dad and mom could decide out of month-to-month checks is that they now not qualify. You nonetheless can decide out of the month-to-month funds for September by means of December, which might be as much as $300 per kid, to keep away from repaying the IRS. 

Parents will not be turning down the credit — you’ll simply be laying aside when you get it. Before you make the choice to decide out, assume about whether or not your family particulars is likely to be completely different out of your 2020 tax return. The IRS bases your advance funds on older tax info, both from a 2020 or 2019 return, and rather a lot has modified since prepandemic instances. Also, know that these advance funds aren’t a tax deduction, however an precise money credit, they usually will not depend as earnings in your tax return.

The second advance cost for August was despatched final Friday, Aug. 13, and the subsequent verify comes on Sept. 15. But there’s nonetheless time to unenroll earlier than the subsequent verify comes. (The deadline to decide out is Monday, Aug. 30.) We’ll inform you all of the unenrollment deadlines under. The key to managing your child tax credit is the IRS Update Portal, however you’ll want an account. If you determine to make use of the advance funds to cowl bills now, listed below are some methods to spend your child tax credit money. This story was up to date not too long ago. 

3 reasons why dad and mom are opting out of child tax credit funds

Here are some instances the place unenrolling from the 2021 advance child tax credit program might be a good concept: 

  • You’d slightly have one giant cost subsequent 12 months as an alternative of seven smaller funds spanning 2021 and 2022. This might be the case for households saving up for a giant 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 wish to cope with having to replace your info within the IRS portal. This might be the case for divorced dad and mom who alternate custody of a child. 
  • You’re involved the IRS may ship you an overpayment primarily based on outdated tax info from 2020 or 2019, and you do not wish to fear about paying any of that cash again subsequent 12 months. That might be the case in case your family earnings goes up as a result of you’ve returned to work or obtained a brand new job. It is also the case if a dependent you claimed beforehand is ageing out of an age bracket earlier than the tip of 2021. 

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How can parents 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 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 next year 

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 

Families who don’t file taxes can still get child tax credit checks 

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. 

Use the IRS portal to update your household details to determine your eligibility

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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