When Will Your Next Monthly Child Tax Credit Payment Arrive?
The IRS has already sent one batch of advance child tax credit payments. Here's when you can expect the rest of your payments to be issued.
Parents from all over the country cheered when they received their first child tax credit payment. Getting up to $300-per-child each month (depending on the age of the child) can be a lifesaver for families who are struggling financially because of the pandemic. But Americans had to wait for months after the program was announced before receiving any money. Now that the first round of payments has been delivered, the waiting begins again for the next round of direct deposits, checks, and debit cards.
The IRS sent payments to approximately 35 million families on July 15. Additional payments will follow each month through the end of the year according to the schedule below. As it stands right now, the payments will not carry over into 2022 (although President Biden wants to extend them beyond this year), so plan accordingly.
Schedule of 2021 Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments
July 15, 2021
August 13, 2021
September 15, 2021
October 15, 2021
November 15, 2021
December 15, 2021
How Much Will You Get Each Month?
For most people, the combined total of the six monthly payments will equal 50% of the child tax credit they're expected to qualify for on their 2021 tax return. They'll claim the other half when they file their 2021 return next year. (Note that the monthly child tax credit payment amounts won't include the $500 credit available for older children, elderly parents, and other dependents.)
For 2021 only, the child tax credit is increased from $2,000 for each child age 16 or younger to $3,600 per child for kids who are 5 years old or younger and $3,000 per child for kids 6 to 17 years of age. That translates into a maximum monthly payment of up to $300 for each child under age 6 and up to $250 for each child ages 6 through 17. Families with higher incomes won't receive that much or could be denied the credit altogether. But most eligible parents will see a considerable bump in their child tax credit for the 2021 tax year. (Use Kiplinger's 2021 Child Tax Credit Calculator to see how large your credit will be this year and how much you'll get each month.)
How Will Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments Be Paid?
Most families will get their monthly child tax credit payments deposited directly into their bank account. That's how you'll get paid if the IRS has bank account information from:
- Your 2019 or 2020 tax return;
- The IRS's online tool used in 2020 by people who aren't required to file a tax return to get a first-round stimulus check; or
- A federal agency that provides you benefits, such as the Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Railroad Retirement Board.
If the IRS doesn't have your bank account information, it will send you a paper check or debit card by mail.
You can use the IRS's Child Tax Credit Update Portal to change the bank account information the IRS has on file. The online tool will tell you if you're scheduled to receive monthly payments by direct deposit. If so, it will list the bank routing number and the last four digits of your account number. If you don't change it, this is the account that will receive all future monthly payments.
If you want to change the bank account starting with the August 13 payment, you can do so by updating the bank routing number and your account number and indicating whether it's a savings or checking account. Note that monthly payments can't be split between multiple accounts – the entire payment must go into one bank account.
Families who aren't currently scheduled to receive payments by mail can also sign up for direct deposit using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to add their bank account information. Just enter your bank routing number and account number and indicate whether it's for a savings or checking account. You'll get paid much faster if you switch to direct deposit, plus you won't have to worry about a paper check or debit card getting lost or stolen.
Opting Out of Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments
What if you don't want to receive monthly child tax credit payments? No problem! You can opt-out through the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (although there are deadlines for opting out each month).
Why might someone want to opt-out of monthly payments? For example, to boost your tax refund, you may want to claim a larger child tax credit when you file your 2021 tax return next year. It also might be smart to opt-out if you no longer qualify for the child tax credit. This could happen if your 2021 income is too high, someone else (e.g., an ex-spouse) will claim your child as a dependent in 2021, or you live outside the U.S. for more than half of 2021. Otherwise, you might have to pay back some or all the money you received as monthly payments this year.
More Information on the 2021 Child Tax Credit
In addition to increasing the credit amount and authoring monthly advance payments, Congress made other changes to the 2021 child tax credit, too. For example, the age for an eligible child was raised to 17, the credit is fully refundable, and the $2,500 earnings floor was removed. An additional layer of phase-outs was also introduced to prevent wealthier families from claiming a larger credit.
Right now, these enhancements only apply to the 2021 tax year. But, as mentioned earlier, President Biden wants to extend most of them through 2025. (The credit would be fully refundable on a permanent basis under the president's plan.) Whether that happens remains to be seen, but it is certainly possible while Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House.
We'll continue to cover any further child tax credit developments, but in the meantime you can get up-to-speed on all the changes for this year's credit at Child Tax Credit 2021: How Much Will I Get? When Will Monthly Payments Arrive? And Other FAQs.