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Child tax credit: You’ll use these 2 IRS portals to get your money

Child tax credit: You'll use these 2 IRS portals to get your money


Two IRS portals for the 2021 child tax credit will open by July 1 to help you keep your information current.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Eligible families will start receiving the enhanced child tax credit payments on July 15. If you’re expecting a payment, see how much you’ll get here. Before the IRS can send those payments, however, it will open two portals for people with qualifying dependents to make any necessary changes. The portals will also be used to opt out of the monthly payments if you’d rather get one large check, and help make sure you’re registered if you don’t normally file a tax return. We’ll explain all the details below.

The child tax credit 2021 payments will go out on the 15th day of the month, with checks as much as $300 per child each month or $3,600 in total, depending on your children’s age by the end of the year. Note that there’s an income limit you must meet in order to get the full payment.

We’ll tell you everything we know so far about the separate IRS portals — and what we don’t yet know. Here are some different ways to use your child tax credit checks and how you may receive your payment. Here’s how you can claim an additional $8,000 to $16,000 credit for child care expenses.

What can you do with the IRS’ online child tax credit portal?

Taxpayer families will be able to make changes to any life circumstances since they last filed their taxes, such as an income change and child custody status. For example, if you started making less money this year, you’ll want to update the IRS about those changes so you can get the correct child tax credit amount.

If you had or will have a new baby this year, it’s important to let the IRS know, so you can receive your payment for up to $3,600 for that child. The same applies if you adopted a child or if you gained a new child dependent since you last filed your taxes. 

Also, if you’ve gained full custody of your child, you’ll be the parent who receives the money for your kid. Note that parents who have shared custody will not each get a payment. This is important for domestic violence survivors, Nina Olson, executive director of the Center for Taxpayer Rights said during an IRS oversight hearing. “That change of circumstances portal should allow them to enter their change in marital status and also where the children are.”

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Child tax credit: Everything we know


Can I use one of the child tax credit portals to opt out of the monthly payments?

The main portal mentioned above will also let you opt out of receiving the monthly child tax credit payments. What does that mean? It means that instead of receiving monthly payments of, say, $300 for your 4-year-old child, you can wait until you file your 2021 taxes next year to receive the $3,600 lump sum amount.

You may also want to opt out because you’re expecting your circumstances to change and don’t want to update your information in the portal.

What if I don’t typically file my taxes?

The IRS will open a second portal dedicated to people who don’t typically file their income taxes. This child tax credit portal will allow this group to give the IRS their updated information, including the number and ages of their qualifying child dependents. 

The portal is expected to let tax nonfilers submit a simplified electronic form to the IRS, to secure their eligibility. This group would include people who don’t have bank accounts, and the homeless population.

How to help those who don’t have a permanent address at this time

Right now, the IRS is urging people to share information about the child tax credit to those who don’t have permanent addresses. By doing this, you’re helping make sure eligible people receive the payments they’re eligible for. You can share the information about the portals with them so they know about the programs to help them file a tax return.

piggy bank, calculator and magnifying glass

One portal will allow those who don’t typically file taxes to update their information.

Sarah Tew/CNET

When will the child tax credit portals open for eligible families?

The IRS has set an open date by July 1, though we don’t have an exact target date yet. The portals could come online sooner than that. The IRS is simultaneously processing tens of millions of tax returns, which may affect the timeline while it also organizes the child tax credit program.

What we don’t know about the child tax credit portals right now

There are still plenty of details that are still unclear about the IRS’ child tax credit portals, including:

  • The exact date the portals will be available to families.
  • How the portals will work for families updating their information.
  • How families will differentiate between the two portals.
  • The process for opting out of the monthly payments.

For more child tax credit 2021 details, here’s how much money you can expect to get. Also, here’s what it takes for you and your dependents to qualify for the payments.

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