The first of six monthly payments for those who qualify for the child tax credit will roll out in two weeks, beginning around July 15.
Families who changed bank accounts recently or who need to provide direct deposit information will need to seek out a new online tool at IRS.gov. Do not click on any links in any emails as those are scams. Simply go to IRS.gov.
The Internal Revenue Service announced recently that it has updated its Child Tax Credit portal at IRS.gov so that people can supply information to have their money directly deposited.
How soon can you see direct deposit?
The IRS said those who update their information by Aug. 2 will see that money directed to those bank accounts for the Aug. 13 payment and all subsequent monthly payments for the rest of 2021.
Families will receive their July 15 payment by direct deposit in the bank account currently on file with the IRS. Or those who are not enrolled for direct deposit will receive a check in the mail.
It is possible to opt for direct deposit in the future, if you end up receiving a check.
But you’d need to supply necessary information online by using the IRS.gov portal. You’d need to supply, for example, your bank routing number and account number and indicate whether it is a savings or checking account.
“The IRS encourages people without current bank account information to use the tool to update their information so they can get the payments sooner,” the IRS said Wednesday.
Get ready for lots of news on the Child Tax Credit in July
The rollout in July is bound to be one of the more confusing massive payment programs yet. But it’s an important step in addressing child poverty and getting money soon into the hands of families that need it.
Some families are worried that they still haven’t seen their 2020 income tax refunds — and wonder how they’ll get their monthly child tax credit payments.
The IRS has a backlog of unprocessed returns, according to the latest information from the National Taxpayer Advocate, who called the 2021 filing season “the perfect storm.”
“This year, the IRS is dealing with an unprecedented number of returns requiring manual review, slowing the issuance of refunds,” according to a report by Erin Collins in the National Taxpayer Advocate.
The report outlined an IRS backlog that includes about 16.8 million paper tax returns waiting to be processed; about 15.8 million returns suspended during processing that require further review; and about 2.7 million amended returns awaiting processing.
When it comes to your monthly payments for the child tax credit, those will be based on your 2020 tax return, if the IRS has processed it; or your 2019 tax return.
The IRS said last week that tax returns processed by June 28 will be reflected in the first batch of monthly payments scheduled for July 15.
Some people are worried, of course, because a baby was born in 2020 and not claimed as a dependent until 2020, so that child doesn’t show up on a 2019 return.
Ultimately, you’d get money if you qualify but you may have to wait a bit longer.
Eligible families will receive up to $300 per month for each qualifying child ages 5 and younger and $250 per month for children ages 6 to 17. The monthly payouts will be sent by the IRS each month from July through December this year only.
Who doesn’t want the money now
Some families — and you may need to talk to your tax preparer to figure this one out — may actually want to opt out and not receive monthly payments in 2021.
The IRS.gov portal offers families an option to stop the monthly payments if needed.
Some families, for example, might want to wait until they file their 2021 tax return next year to take advantage of the credit. And they’d rather not receive half of the credit upfront this year.
Others may no longer qualify based on information on their 2021 income tax returns.
This could happen if, for example:
— Their income in 2021 is too high to qualify for the credit.
— Someone else (an ex-spouse or another family member, for example) qualifies to claim their child or children as dependents in 2021.
— Their main home was outside of the United States for more than half of 2021.
You’d need to unenroll or opt out by Aug. 2 to stop the August payments and the following payments. If you opt out by Aug. 30, you could stop the September payments and the rest of the payments.
If you don’t opt out and you need to, you could face a higher tax bill or a smaller refund next year when you file your taxes.
Get ready for another letter
The IRS said letters are going out in the next few weeks to eligible families who filed either a 2019 or 2020 federal income tax return or who used the Non-Filers tool on IRS.gov to register for stimulus money called an Economic Impact Payment.
The letters from the IRS will confirm eligibility, the amount of money you’d receive for the child tax credit and that the payments begin July 15. Families who receive these letters do not need to take any further action.
These more personalized letters are a followup to what the IRS calls its “Advance Child Tax Credit Outreach Letter,” which was sent in early- and mid-June, to every family who appeared to qualify for the advance payments.