Child tax credit portal: The key to managing updates, payments and opting out

People have a lot of questions about the new child tax credit check program. When can parents expect monthly checks? How much will they get? Will families have to repay the money? It can be confusing, to say the least. Fortunately, there’s one online portal that can answer most questions without waiting for live assistance from the IRS. The Child Tax Credit Update Portal lets you check processed payments, update household information and opt out but first, you’ll need to create an account with to get started (more below).

The online portal’s features are limited, but some time this fall, you’ll be able to use the portal to amend the number of dependents you have, your marital status and your income. But for now, parents can see if their last payment was processed if you’re worried about missing a check. Updating your household changes sooner rather than later will help ensure that your family is getting the right amount of money each month, which could be up to $3,600 for each kid.

We’ll explain how to unenroll if your family wants to defer the partial monthly payments this year or if you no longer qualify. It’s the best way to make sure your changes don’t negatively affect your taxes next spring. Another IRS tool can also help confirm your eligibility and help low-income families to register for the credit (more below). We’ll walk you through everything you need to know ahead of the next deadline (Oct. 4) and other IRS portals to help answer common questions. This story was recently updated.

How to opt out of the October child tax credit 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 later this month. 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 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 to avoid repaying money that you may not qualify for. Later this month, 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.

How to check the status of your processed payments

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 Sep. 15 payment…Read more>>


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