Child tax credit 2021: Why you may want to opt out of the monthly payments and how

You are currently viewing Child tax credit 2021: Why you may want to opt out of the monthly payments and how


You can opt out of getting child tax credit payments.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you’re expecting to get the expanded child tax credit money, your first monthly payment will arrive in just two months — assuming you’re eligible and have qualifying dependents. Starting in July, you’ll get seven payments that equal out to up to $3,600 per kid. But it depends on your child’s age and your adjusted gross income this year. However, you can opt out of the monthly payments if you’d rather get one large payment with your tax refund in 2022.

You’ll need to change your preference when the IRS portal opens if you don’t want to start getting monthly payments. We’ll explain what you need to know about opting out of the smaller child tax credit payments. Also, here are some ways to spend your child tax credit money when you get it.

As a side note, if you’re still waiting on your $1,400 stimulus check or your “plus-up” payment, here’s how to track it down. Also, your state could owe you hundreds of dollars — it takes two minutes to check. Plus, here’s how Biden’s new stimulus plan could bring you even more money.

Three reasons for opting out of the monthly child tax credit payments

If you’d rather receive your child tax credit payments in one lump sum rather than seven smaller payments, you can choose to opt out of the payments in July. Here are some reasons you may want to opt out:

  • You’d rather have one large payment next year.
  • You know your circumstances will change and don’t want to deal with updating your information in the portal the IRS plans to open by July 1. (The portal is where you can update the IRS about any significant changes that pertain to you.)
  • You’re concerned the IRS might accidentally send you an overpayment, and you don’t want to worry about paying that money back.

Now playing:
Watch this:

Child tax credit: How much are you getting?


What happens if you decide to opt out of the monthly checks

Be aware that if you opt out of receiving monthly child tax credits from July through December, you won’t get your full payment — or any payment at all — until after the IRS processes your 2021 tax return next year. The full payment will then arrive with your tax refund, or could be used to offset any taxes you owe; you’ll be in a similar situation to those people who had to claim missing stimulus checks on their taxes this year.

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. However, if you choose to receive six monthly payments this year, you’d get $300 each month and another $1,800 with your tax refund. You can use our child tax credit 2021 calculator to estimate how much you should get.

If you don’t update your information in the portal and you file your taxes before the May 17 deadline, you’ll automatically receive the monthly payments. More below on how to opt out.

Now playing:
Watch this:

Stimulus plus-up payments: What you need to know


You’ll use the IRS portal to opt out of monthly payments once it’s available

By July 1, the IRS will open a portal that’s designed specifically for the new child tax credit payments. You can also use it to opt out of receiving multiple payments this year. We’ve asked the IRS about how exactly you’ll be able to do this. We do know the IRS will have paper forms available for those who don’t have internet access. “We will make forms and instructions for the forms available for folks who want to opt out,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said April 13.

We’re not sure how the portal will look or what the process will be, but we do know it can be used to update your record with any changes that have happened since you last filed your taxes. For example, if you had a new baby in 2021 or have gained a new qualified dependent — the IRS wouldn’t have this information on file yet. Or maybe your income has changed recently. 

We’ll know more about the details you can change once the IRS portal is up and running — the IRS won’t have the resources to build the portal until after tax season.

For more child tax credit information, here’s what you need to know if you share custody of a child. Also, here’s what to know about the CTC payment timeline and the extra thing parents of 2021 babies will need to do to claim their CTC payments.

Leave a Reply