Though the thirdpayment is on Sept. 30, the last day to unenroll is Monday, Aug. 30 by 9 p.m. PT (midnight ET). So if you’re having doubts about receiving the money upfront in 2021, you’ll need to make a decision fast. Most families see a benefit from this year’s advance payment program, but one perk to opting out is a . Opting out also means you won’t have to worry about getting an overpayment from the IRS that’ll need to be paid back.
You might consider unenrolling today if your income or circumstances have changed significantly since your 2020 tax return or if you’re saving for a large expense in 2022. Keep in mind that you won’t be turning down the credit if you opt out, you’ll just be putting off when you get it. Also, these advance payments aren’t a tax deduction but an actual cash credit, and they won’t count as income on your tax return. We’ll explain more below.
While parents can easily opt out of the September through December payments (up to) the IRS hasn’t yet made it possible to re-enroll until sometime next month. The key to managing your child tax credits, updating your information and opting out is the IRS Update Portal, which requires setting up an . And if you decide to use the advance payments to cover expenses now, here are some ways to . This story was updated recently.
3 reasons to opt out of advance monthly payments
Here are some cases where unenrolling from the 2021 advance child tax credit program could be a good idea:
- You’d rather have one large payment next year instead of seven smaller payments spanning 2021 and 2022. This could be the case for families saving up for a big expense, those who’ve budgeted that money to pay off outstanding debt or are accustomed to getting a bigger refund at tax time.
- You know your household’s circumstances or tax situation will change (or they’ve already changed) this year and don’t want to deal with having to update your information in the IRS portal. This could be the case for divorced parents who alternate custody of a child.
- You’re concerned the IRS might send you an overpayment based on old tax information from 2020 or 2019, and you don’t want to worry about paying any of that money back next year. That could be the case if your household income goes up because you’ve returned to work or got a new job. It could also be the case if a dependent you claimed previously is aging out of an age bracket before the end of 2021.
What happens if parents decide to opt out now?
Those who choose to decline this year’s child tax credit installments (amounting to half the total) will still receive the same amount of money in the end, but are simply delaying when they receive it. So if you have a child who’s 5 years old or younger by the end of 2021 and your, you’ll get $3,600 total when you file your taxes in 2022.
Be aware that if you unenroll from getting the monthly child tax credit payments this year, you won’t get your full payment — or any payment at all — until after the IRS processes your 2021 tax return in 2022. The total amount will then arrive with your tax refund or can be used to offset any taxes you owe at that time; you’ll be in a situation similar to people who have had tothis year.
However, if you chose to receive monthly advances, you’d get six installments of $300 payments each month this year and another $1,800 with your tax refund next year instead. Keep in mind that if you take the money in advance now, it could lower your tax refund next year because you may get more money than what is owed to you. It will also mean you’ll have fewer deductions since you’ve already collected the credit.
You can use ourto estimate how much you should get and see a breakdown of the monthly payments if you choose not to opt out and meet all eligibility requirements.
Child tax credit payment schedule
|Monthly check||Maximum payment per child age 5 and younger||Maximum payment per child age 6 to 17|
|April 2022: Second half of payment||$1,800||$1,500|
How can parents opt out through the online portal?
If you want to unenroll before the Sept. 15 check, you have until 9 p.m. PT on Aug. 30. You can opt out anytime in 2021 to stop receiving the rest of your remaining monthly advances, even if you’ve already received the first few payments To unenroll, the IRS said you must opt out three days before the first Thursday of the month in order to not receive the next month’s payment. See the chart below for more.
If you miss a deadline, the IRS said you will get the next scheduled advance payment until the agency can process your request to unenroll. According to the IRS, currently, if you unenroll then you can’t reenroll yet. Starting sometime in September, you should be able to opt back in.
Here’s how to unenroll:
1. Head to the new Child Tax Credit Update Portal and click the Manage Advance Payments button.
2. On the next page, sign in using your IRS or ID.me account. If you have neither, the page will walk you through setting up an ID.me account. You’ll need an email address, a photo ID, your Social Security number and a smartphone or tablet to verify your identity.
3. On the next page, you can see your eligibility and unenroll from the monthly payments.
Child tax credit payment unenrollment dates
|Payment month||Unenrollment deadline||Payment date|
|July||June 28||July 15|
|August||Aug. 2||Aug. 13|
|September||Aug. 30||Sept. 15|
|October||Oct. 4||Oct. 15|
|November||Nov. 1||Nov. 15|
|December||Nov. 29||Dec. 15|
Do married parents have to opt out separately?
Unenrolling applies only to one individual at a time. So if you’re married and file jointly, both you and your spouse will need to opt out separately. If only one of you does so, you will get half the joint payment you were supposed to receive with your spouse, the IRS said.
How can families update their income and dependents?
For now, the Child Tax Credit Update Portal is the best way to quickly make any changes that have happened since you last filed your taxes. For example, if youor gained a or if your income recently changed, the IRS wouldn’t have that on file yet. Before the end of 2021, the IRS will give the portal more functionality. Right now, you can use the portal to update your banking information and mailing address. Later in September, you’ll be able to add or subtract qualifying children, report a change in your marital status or income or reenroll in monthly payments if you previously unenrolled.
How can non-tax filing families get child tax credit payments?
If you filed your taxes before the May 17 deadline, you should have automatically received the advance monthly payments that started July 15. An online IRSis also available for families who don’t normally file income tax returns so they can register with the agency and receive payments. However, the tool has been criticized for not being easy to use — especially on a smartphone.
For more child tax credit information, here’s what to know about the child tax creditand how to estimate your total payment using CNET’s .