Child tax credit portal: How to manage your monthly payments, opt out and more

While it may be too late to make changes to your IRS account for your child tax credit check that’s coming Sept. 15, you can still update your details for future payments. Parents who find the monthly payment schedule too complicated can opt out of future checks using the IRS Update Portal. Because access to the portal is essential for managing all your payments and personal details, we recommend taking the time to create an account with

Sometime this month, you’ll be able to use the portal to amend the number of dependents you have, your marital status and your income. Informing the IRS of those household changes will help guarantee that your family is getting the right amount of the child tax credit, which could be up to $3,600 for each kid spread out between 2021 and 2022. Updating your details is key to making sure the IRS doesn’t send an overpayment, which could then negatively affect your taxes next spring.

The Update Portal also lets you see how your last payment was processed if you’re worried about missing a check. We’ll explain below how to unenroll online if your family wants to defer the partial monthly payments this year. We’ll also tell you a way to confirm your eligibility through an easy IRS tool and how to use a separate portal designed for low-income families to register for the credit. We’ve made recent updates to this story.

How to opt out of the October check and beyond

The Child Tax Credit Update Portal now lets you opt out of receiving this year’s 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 filing a 2021 tax return in 2022 to receive the remainder of the $3,600. You can unenroll at any time, but you must opt out at least three days before the first Thursday of the month you’re unenrolling from (here’s a useful list of dates to know). At this point, the IRS says unenrolling or opting out is a one-time action — and you won’t be able to opt back in until late September.

The next deadline to opt out is Oct. 4 by 9 p.m. PT, midnight ET. 

You may choose to unenroll from the advance monthly payment program because you’re expecting circumstances to change or if the partial monthly payments will interfere in tax planning. Families that usually owe money to the IRS when they file taxes may want to instead use the full credit next year. Or you might want a larger payout if your household is saving for a big expense.

To unenroll, visit the Child Tax Credit Update Portal and tap Manage Advance Payments. You’ll then need to sign in with your IRS username or account. (You can create one on the page if you don’t have one.)

After you sign in, if you’re eligible, you’ll see an option to opt out of the payments. The IRS says if you filed jointly on your most recent tax return, unenrolling will only affect your, and not your spouse’s, advance payments. That means both parents need to opt out separately.

How each of the child tax credit portals can help parents

Most families who qualify for the expanded credit don’t need to take any action if they want the advance payments this year. If you already filed a 2019 or 2020 federal income tax return (or used the nonfiler tool in 2020 to register for stimulus payments), you’ll get the credit automatically. And the credit is nonrefundable, so you don’t need income to get it.

The online tools are useful for a variety of reasons. Here’s how they help parents with eligible dependents:

  • The Child Tax Credit Update Portal lets you verify that your family qualifies for the credit and opt out of receiving any payments in 2021. You can use it now to view your payment history (including if the money is coming by paper check or through direct deposit) and provide the IRS with your current mailing address and bank details.
  • A nonfiler portal lets you provide the IRS with basic information about yourself and your dependents if you normally aren’t required to file a tax return. The tool is intended to help low-income households register for the payments.
  • The Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant can help you determine whether you qualify for the advance child tax credit payments. The interactive tool is now available in Spanish and other languages.

What other toolkits and resources are available now? The IRS regularly updates its child tax credit FAQ page and has a PDF with details on the portals. The White House has launched a website for the child tax credit that provides information for families, details about eligibility and more downloadable information.

Checking the status of your payments online

Using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, you can view your payment history and add your direct deposit information if the IRS doesn’t have it from a recent tax return. If the IRS has invalid bank account details, it will send the check in the mail. Families that receive their payments by snail mail should allow extra time for delivery.

The IRS reported that some recipients who received their July payment through direct deposit received the Aug. 13 payment by mail due to a tax agency issue, which is expected to be resolved by the September payment.

Verifying that you qualify

The new Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant allows families to answer a series of questions to quickly determine whether they qualify for the advance credit. This can be helpful for families who haven’t received a letter from the IRS confirming their eligibility. The tool is now available in multiple languages, including Spanish.

In its second month, the 2021 enhanced child tax credit is a financial boost for many families but for others it could spark worries about messy taxes.

How to inform the IRS about income or household changes

You’ll need to let the IRS know as soon as possible if your income or dependents change. Later in September, you’ll be able to indicate changes to any life circumstances since you last filed your taxes, such as a change in income, an addition to your family or a change in child custody status. For example, if you started making more or 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 payment for up to $3,600 for that child. The same applies if you’ve adopted a child or 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 Child Tax Credit Update Portal later this year “should allow them to enter their change in marital status and also where the children are,” Olson said.

Remember that collecting the money even when ineligible may mean you have to repay the IRS during tax time in 2022. If you’re not sure if you qualify, you can opt out of advance payments to be on the safe side. You’ll collect the child tax credit money during tax time next year…Read more>>


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