Over 35 million US working families received advancepayments last week. But even if you received a check or know that one is on the way, it’s best to see if you qualify sooner rather than later. If you’re not eligible for the full amount of the credit but still collect it, you may have an unpleasant surprise during if the IRS requires you to pay back the money.
The 2021 child tax credit could have a huge impact. For example, an eligible family with a young child and acould collect up to $600 a month through December, plus an additional $3,600 for the two dependents next year. It depends on : Parents with an income of less than $150,000 (married and filing jointly) will get the maximum: $3,600 for each child under age 6 and $3,000 for each child aged 6 through 17 — use our to get a quick estimate. And there’s no limit to how many children parents can get the extra money for.
Half of each family’s total comes in monthly installments this year, and the other half in a payout next year — unless you opt out now to get one lump sum next year. Before you spend the money it’s best to make sure you’re eligible. Also, remember that the IRS uses existing tax records to determine your personalized total amount, which might be outdated by now if you’ve had a change in income. We’ll tell you what the different letters from the IRS mean, how to useand why you might want to of advance checks this year. This story is updated on a regular basis.
1. Read over your IRS letters about your eligibility and estimated amount
Aboutare eligible for a child tax credit payment, and qualified families should have received at least one letter from the IRS. That means the agency determined that you qualify for child tax credit money based on your 2019 or 2020 federal income tax return. In that case, you would have automatically received the first July payment unless you already opted out.
If you don’t typically file taxes, the IRS can use any information you submitted online using the. The White House also launched , which includes a step-by-step guide in multiple languages to help parents use the tool. So yes, even if you didn’t file your taxes you may still get advance monthly payments this month.
The first IRS letter (see sample PDFsor ) told families they may be eligible. The second letter (see sample PDF ) gave families a customized estimate of what their monthly advance payments will be throughout the remainder of this year. You don’t need to do anything if you received these letters, except hold on to them in case you need to reference it later on. If you didn’t get a letter, don’t worry quite yet; there are other ways to check your eligibility.
2. Check your eligibility using the online IRS portals
The IRS hasto help you get your child tax credit money. The is the quickest way for families to see if they qualify by answering just a . You’ll need your latest tax return to check eligibility. But if any information has changed since then, you’ll need to use another tool to make sure the IRS has the most up-to-date information.
Another online tool, the, also lets you check to see if you’re eligible and your payment history. You can use it to make decisions about opting out of the advance monthly payments and to add your direct deposit information. It will soon let you add new information and correct or update outdated details like the number of kids you have or your income.
There’s also afor those who did not file a 2020 tax return and don’t plan to. While there has been some criticism about it not being user-friendly, lacking a Spanish version and not working well on smartphones, the nonfiler tool is one of the ways that low-income families can give information to the IRS to make sure they get a payment.
If the IRS says your eligibility is pending, you won’t start receiving payments until you’ve been approved. You can check the status of your eligibility using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. If the IRS cannot confirm eligibility this year you’ll receive the full child tax credit amount when you file your taxes next year.
On the other hand, if you find out that you’re not eligible or you’re unsure, there’s still time to opt out before the next payment. You’ll need to opt out ahead of the upcoming check to avoid getting the next payment, but it’s a one-time action. The IRS plans to add a re-enrolling option in September. Here are the unenrolling deadlines to keep in mind.
Child tax credit opt out deadlines
|Payment date||Unenrollment deadline|
|July 15||June 28|
|Aug. 13||Aug. 2|
|Sept. 15||Aug. 30|
|Oct. 15||Oct. 4|
|Nov. 15||Nov. 1|
|Dec. 15||Nov. 29|
3. Calculate your child tax credit total amount
Even if your first child tax credit check is on the way via mail, you can make an educated guess about your qualification status fairly easily. We think the fastest way is to use our. Just enter your yearly income and number of kids. Don’t worry — the calculator is private and anonymous and won’t store or use any of your personal information.
For the most part, the calculator tool will tell you what you need to know. However, there are some outlier qualifications that could crop up. For example, in some cases, it’s possible.
And whilewill generally qualify for the full amount, that could change if you have of a child. US citizenship also plays a role, so if any of your kids are adopted from another country, you’ll want to make sure you know all the .
For more, check here to see if your, how you could and if you could get a refund for the .