October 27, 2021

PC TECH THERAPY

PC Tech Therapy Blog by Daniyal Computer

IRS portals for child tax credit open soon: Families can opt out of monthly checks, update info

5 min read


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This summer, the IRS will provide tools and online resources to help with the advance child tax credit. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

In the coming weeks, families that are eligible for this year’s child tax credit will gain access to additional online tools. Two IRS portals will allow parents to update key information like marital status, change in income and number of kids, as well as defer the monthly child tax credit payments. In other words, families can choose to unenroll from the automatic monthly installments and instead receive the full amount of the credit when they file their 2021 tax return next year.

If you don’t know how much your family can expect to get when the checks roll out on July 15, use our child tax credit calculator. The IRS is also sending out an initial letter to 36 million families who may qualify for a payment. A second child tax credit letter will also go out to families informing them of their estimated yearly total — up to $3,000 (or each child aged 6 to 17) or $3,600 (for children under 6). 

That’s why it’s important that the IRS has all your correct information on hand. We can also suggest some ways to use your child tax credit checks, give you details on how you might receive your payment and tell you how to claim thousands of dollars back for child care expenses. We are updating this story as the IRS releases more information.  

What are online child tax credit portals for?

Here are how the IRS portals will help parents with eligible dependents, according to the IRS:

  • One portal will help you determine whether you qualify for the advance child tax credit payments.
  • The second online tool — which the IRS is calling the “Child Tax Credit Update Portal” — will let you opt of of the advance payments to instead receive one payment in 2022. Later this year, the IRS said, this portal will allow you to check on the status of your payments and update the IRS with your current information. Those who don’t typically file tax returns can also use this portal to update the IRS with their status — including changes to the number of dependents, filing status or income — so they can receive the correct amount they qualify for.

Are any online tools available now for nonfilers to update info? 

The IRS has set an open deadline of July 1 for the portals, though we don’t have an exact date yet. They could be up and running sooner than that. 

In the meantime, the IRS has created a child tax credit “Non-filer Sign-up Tool,” which is for those who aren’t required to file a tax return and for those who haven’t given the agency basic information on dependents that they need to secure their eligibility. This tool can be used by families that didn’t file or don’t plan to file a 2020 tax return and who need to notify the IRS of qualifying children born before 2021.  

In order to use the tool, families must have a primary residence in the US for more than half the year. (Parents who claimed all their dependents on a 2019 tax return or filed a 2020 return should not use the tool.) To register through the nonfiler tool, parents should have their personal details on hand, including an email address, Social Security numbers for dependents and a bank account routing number. 

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There is no limit on the number of children that parents can receive the credit for as long as both they and their dependents qualify.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Will the portals let parents unenroll in the advance payment program? 

The main portal will let you opt out of receiving the monthly child tax credit payments. That means that instead of receiving monthly payments of, say, $300 for your 4-year-old, you can wait until you file your 2021 taxes in 2022 to receive the $3,600 lump sum. You may want to opt out because you’re expecting your circumstances to change or your family is saving for a big expense next year.

What online resources will be available in the next month? 

Through the portals this summer, 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, according to comments during an IRS oversight hearing by Nina Olson, executive director of the Center for Taxpayer Rights. The “change of circumstances portal should allow them to enter their change in marital status and also where the children are,” Olson said.


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Child tax credit: Everything we know



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What about families without a permanent address?

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

What details about the portals haven’t been released? 

There are many 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 personal details or updating their bank 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. Also, here’s what it takes for you and your dependents to qualify for the payments.



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