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2021 Advance Child Tax Credit: Here Are Quick Ways To See If You Qualify

By on July 18, 2021 0

The IRS uses existing tax returns to send families monthly advance payments for their 2021 child tax credit this year.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The IRS has now performed the first of six months child tax credit payments in 2021 to more than 35 million families with nearly 60 million children, but that doesn’t mean it’s all done and dusted off. Even if you’ve received a check or a check is on its way, it’s best to see if you qualify as soon as possible. If you are not eligible for the full amount of the credit but you still receive it, you may have a bad surprise when tax time next year.

The 2021 expanded credit could have a huge impact – for example, a qualifying household with a young child and a new born could collect up to $ 600 a month until December, plus an additional $ 3,600 for both dependents next year. It all boils down to income and age conditions: Parents with incomes below $ 150,000 (married and filing jointly) will get the maximum: $ 3,600 for each child under 6 and $ 3,000 for each child 6 to 17 – use our calculator to get a quick estimate.

Half of each family’s total is paid in monthly installments this year and the other half in installments next year. But before you spend those extra dollars, be sure to review the qualifications. Also, keep in mind that the IRS uses existing tax records to calculate your custom amount, which may be outdated by now. We will tell you what the letters IRS mean, how to use ID.me to manage your payments and why you might want opt out advance checks this year. This story is updated frequently.

1. Look for letters from the IRS regarding the child tax credit

About 97% of working families are eligible for a child tax credit and eligible families must have received at least one letter from the IRS. This means that the agency determined that you were eligible for the child tax credit based on your 2019 or 2020 federal income tax return. In this case, you would have automatically received the first payment in July, unless you made are already unsubscribed.

If you typically don’t report taxes, the IRS can use any information you submit online using the non-filer tool. The White House also launched ChildTaxCredit.gov, which includes a step-by-step guide in multiple languages ​​to help parents use the tool. So yes, even if you haven’t filed your taxes, you can still receive early monthly payments this month.

The first letter from the IRS (see PDF samples 6416 or 6416-A) told families they might be eligible. The second letter (see example PDF 6417) gave families a personalized estimate of the amount of their monthly advances for the rest of the year. You do not need to do anything if you have received these letters except to keep them in case you need to refer to them later. If you haven’t received a letter, don’t worry yet; there are other ways to verify your eligibility.


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2. Use the Eligibility Assistant tool

The IRS has new portals and tools to help you get child tax credit money. the interactive eligibility assistant is the fastest way for families to see if they qualify by simply responding to a a few short questions. You will need your last tax return to verify your eligibility. But if any information has since changed, you’ll need to use another tool to make sure the IRS has the most recent information.

Another online tool, the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, also allows you to check if you are eligible and your payment history. You can use it to make decisions about withdrawing advance monthly payments and to add your direct deposit information. It will soon allow you to add new information and correct or update outdated details like the number of children you have or your income.

There is also a non-filtering tool for those who have not filed a 2020 tax return and are not planning to do so. While there have been criticisms about its lack of user-friendliness, lack of a Spanish version, and poor functionality on smartphones, the non-reporting tool is one of the ways families in low income can provide 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 your approval is 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 will receive the full child tax credit amount when you file your taxes next year.

On the other hand, if you find out that you are not eligible or unsure, there is still time to unsubscribe before the next payment. You will need to unsubscribe before the next check to avoid receiving the next payment, but this is a one-time action. The IRS plans to add a re-enrollment option in September. Here are the unsubscribe deadlines to keep in mind.

Time limits for withdrawing the child tax credit

Payment date

Unsubscribe deadline

July 15th

June 28

Aug 13

August 2nd

September 15th

August 30

October 15

October 4

November 15

November, 1st

December 15

29 november

3. Calculate your total amount for 2021-2022

Even if your first child tax credit check is on its way in the mail, you can make an educated guess about your qualifying status quite easily. We believe the fastest way is to use our child tax credit calculator. Just enter your annual income and the number of children. Don’t worry, the calculator is private and anonymous and will not store or use any of your personal information.

For the most part, the calculator will tell you what you need to know. However, some aberrant qualifications could arise. For example, in some cases it is possible your income will disqualify you.

And while parents of new babies will generally be eligible for the full amount, which could change if you have shared custody of a child. U.S. citizenship also plays a role, so if one of your children is adopted from another country, you’ll want to make sure you know all of the rules applicable to children.

To find out more, check here if your the state owes you money, how could you get money back for your child care expenses and if you could get a refund for the unemployment tax relief.