July 2, 2022
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Hey, parents! This IRS Letter Means Child Tax Credit Money Is Coming

By on June 18, 2021 0

Keep an eye on your mail. An IRS envelope could mean advance payments are coming in.

Angela Lang / CNET

While a letter from the IRS rarely means good news, this time it could. Coworker received an envelope in the mail from the tax agency and assumed it was an audit notice – but it was the advance child tax credit payments from July 15th. About 36 million families in the United States will receive the letter, with up to 92% of households with children eligible for this significant tax break. New rules under the American Rescue Plan increase the child tax credit from $ 2,000 to a maximum of $ 3,600 per child.

Unlike in previous years, half of the total amount of the payment will be distributed automatically in advance of the partial payments until the end of 2021. Parents have the right possibility of deferring monthly payments to receive the lump sum when filing income tax in 2022. Starting next week, watch for information on Child Tax Credit Awareness Day and the new White House landing page, as well as new IRS online tools for registering and updating your information.

Plus, keep an eye out for a second letter from the IRS for a personalized estimate of your child tax credit amount. In the meantime, you can use CNET child tax credit calculator to estimate your total and find out more about how to spend the child tax credit money. We have updated this story.

Who Receives the IRS Child Tax Letter of Credit?

Congratulations. If a letter that looks like this (see directly below) arrives in the mail …


A copy of the letter from the IRS that may soon end up in your mailbox.


… that means the IRS thinks you could qualify for the next child tax credit, based on the information it has on your 2019 or 2020 tax return – or from the details you recorded using a tool for non-filers (in know more about the new tool for non-filers for the child tax credit).

Until there is a check in hand or a direct deposit in your bank account, it is not a good idea to take this letter as a guarantee of an upcoming child tax credit payment. but it looks like your chances are good. As with all IRS correspondence, keep this letter for your records.

What if your family hadn’t received a letter from the IRS?

If a letter never appears in your mailbox, that doesn’t necessarily mean the IRS is ignoring you for child tax credit payments. After all, the vast majority of American households with children will receive some of the money reserved for parents. For example, while 36 million families are expected to receive a letter, up to 39 million homes may be eligible for the credit. This immediately means that 3 million households could see a check, but no confirmation letter.

You may not receive a letter if the IRS:

What you can do now:

  • If you don’t normally have to file taxes – someone the IRS calls a non-filer – you’ll have the option to update your information, such as the number of children you can claim, using a “non-filer registration tool” which is available now.
  • If you haven’t yet filed your 2020 tax return but plan to do so, the IRS encourages families to do so as soon as possible by using the Free File System available on the IRS website. This will allow parents to update their banking information. There will also be free tax preparation days in the coming weeks (see dates and cities here).
  • If you’ve moved, make sure the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service have your current mailing address.
  • Make sure you know the eligibility and income rules for parents and their children, including shared custody situations.

Mark the date on your calendar for the first child tax credit check next month.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Which families will receive a follow-up letter from the IRS?

If you get the go-ahead from the IRS to receive child tax credit payments (which begins July 15), you will receive a second letter confirming your eligibility. It also indicates how much money you should expect to see in those checks.

The 2021 child tax credit payment schedule gets a bit tricky from there, but the result is that half of the total money will come in increments from July through December with the remaining money coming to you after your tax return in 2022.

You will want to keep this letter so that you can compare the estimate with what you will eventually receive and ensure you get the right amount for the right number of children you are claiming. If there is a problem with the delivery of the child tax credit check, this letter is almost like your receipt from the IRS, which you may need to reference in the future (such as in a request to collect your taxes. 2021 next year).

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To learn more about the Child Tax Credit, here’s how you’ll use IRS online portals launch before next month and what if you have a baby this year.