(NEXSTAR) – If you’re one of those taxpaying parents that loves the big refund check after filing, you may want to take action now.
Monday is the final day to request an enhanced child tax credit in one lump sum rather than receiving monthly checks.
The payments are part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package passed earlier this year. Eligible families can receive as much as $3,600 for each child under the age of 6 and $3,000 per child between the ages of 6 and 17.
The payments will be made monthly on or around the 15th of the month, unless a lump sum payment is chosen. Parents can register for the program with the Internal Revenue Service even if they did not fully file their taxes. The administration launched the website childtaxcredit.gov with details for potential recipients.
The IRS said some people may also want to unenroll from monthly checks if they “expect the amount of tax you owe to be greater than your expected refund when you file your 2021 tax return.” Because the payments are being paid in advance, “every dollar you receive will reduce the amount of Child Tax Credit you will claim on your 2021 tax return.”
Those who want the one-time infusion of cash can choose that option through the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.
If you choose to unenroll from the monthly payments, you must “unenroll three days before the first Thursday of next month by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time,” the IRS said. That means individuals who want all of the credit applied as a one-time credit must take action by Monday for the changes to be recoreded prior to the first July 15 payout window.
Those wishing to opt out of some, but not all checks should apply by the following deadlines.
August: Unenrollment deadline is 8/2/2021, payment date on 8/13/2021
September: Unenrollment deadline is 8/30/2021, payment date on 9/15/2021
October: Unenrollment deadline is 10/4/2021, payment date on 10/15/2021
November: Unenrollment deadline is 11/1/2021, payment date on 11/15/2021
December: Unenrollment deadline is 11/29/2021, payment date on 12/15/2021
According to the IRS, “unenrollment is a one-time action. You will be able to re-enroll starting in late September 2021.”
The enhanced credit program is slated to expire after one year, though Biden has proposed extending it through 2025 with the ultimate goal of making it permanent.
Am I eligible for advance Child Tax Credit payments?
Not sure if your family qualifies for the expanded child tax credit? The IRS now has an online tool that allows taxpayers to check their eligibility.
The Advance Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant can help American families quickly determine if they qualify for monthly payments by having them answer a simple set of questions.
When using the tool, users should have their 2020 tax return on hand. However, if they haven’t submitted it yet, they can use their 2019 filing.
For those who don’t have a copy of their tax return but know their filing status, estimates can be made based on income statements like W-2s and 1099s, and the amount of expenses and adjustments to total income.
The tool then walks users through a set of questions, beginning with whether the taxpayer claimed the child tax credit on their 2019 or 2020 return, and whether they have established residency in the U.S. for more than half of that year.
If the user isn’t sure whether they claimed the child tax credit previously, they’ll be asked their tax filing status, the modified adjusted gross income from their latest tax return, and the number of children they claimed for the credit.
Once completed, the tool lets families know if they qualify for advanced monthly payments of up to $300 per child under the age of 6 and $250 for each child aged 6 to 17.
Taxpayers are eligible to receive the full amount if their income is $75,000 or less for single filers, $112,500 or less for heads of households, or $150,000 or less for married couples filing jointly, as well as qualified widows or widowers.
Those with incomes higher than those thresholds will get reduced amounts until they are phased out entirely, at $400,000 for married couples filing a joint return and $200,000 for all other filing statuses.
The most up-to-date information about the payments can be found at IRS.gov/childtaxcredit2021.