Families now receiving August Child Tax Credit payments; still time for low-income families to sign up
The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department have announced that millions of American families are now receiving their advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) payment for the month of August as direct deposits begin posting in bank accounts and checks arrive in mailboxes.
This second batch of advance monthly payments, worth about $15 billion, are reaching about 36 million families across the country. The majority will be issued by direct deposit.
Under the American Rescue Plan, most eligible families received the first payment on July 15, and payments will continue each month for the rest of 2021. For these families, each payment is up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 through 17.
Besides the July 15 and Aug. 13 payments, payment dates are September 15, October 15, November 15 and December 15.
Here are further details on these payments:
- Families will see the direct deposit payments in their accounts starting on August 13. Like the first payments, the vast majority of families will receive these payments by direct deposit.
- The IRS wants to alert some recipients who received direct deposits in July that they will receive the August payments by mail. Due to an issue expected to be resolved by the September payments, a percentage of these recipients – less than 15% – who received payments by direct deposit in July will be mailed paper checks for the August payment. For those affected, no additional action is needed for the September payment to be issued by direct deposit. Families can visit the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to see if they're receiving a direct deposit or paper check this month.
- For those receiving their payments by paper check, be sure to allow extra time for delivery by mail through the end of August. Those wishing to receive future payments by direct deposit can make this change using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, available only on IRS.gov. To access the portal or to get a new step-by-step guide for using it, visit IRS.gov/childtaxcredit2021. A change made by 11:59 p.m. ET on Aug. 30 will apply starting with the September payment.
- Payments went to eligible families who filed a 2019 or 2020 income tax return. Returns processed by August 2 are reflected in these payments. This includes people who don't typically file a return but during 2020 successfully registered for Economic Impact Payments using the IRS Non-Filers tool on IRS.gov or in 2021 successfully used the Non-filer Sign-up Tool for advance CTC, also available only on IRS.gov.
- Payments are automatic. Aside from filing a tax return, including a simplified return from the Non-filer Sign-up Tool, families don't have to do anything if they are eligible to receive monthly payments. The Non-Filer Sign-Up tool is available until October 15, 2021.
- Families who did not get a July payment and are getting their first monthly payment in August will still receive their total advance payment for the year. This means that the total payment will be spread over five months, rather than six, making each monthly payment larger. For these families, each payment is up to $360 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $300 per month for each child ages 6 through 17
- Additionally, the IRS is correcting an issue regarding the advance CTC payments for families where the parent(s) have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and the qualifying children have a Social Security number. Such families who did not receive a July payment are receiving a monthly payment in August, which also includes a portion of the July payment. They will receive the remainder of the July payment in late August.
Low-income families can still sign up
It's not too late for low-income families to sign up for advance CTC payments. The IRS urged anyone who normally isn't required to file a tax return to explore the tools available on IRS.gov. These tools can help determine eligibility for the advance CTC or help people file a simplified tax return to sign up for these payments as well as Economic Impact Payments and the Recovery Rebate Credit. People can get these benefits, even if they don't work and even if they receive no income.
The IRS continues to raise awareness of the expanded Child Tax Credit. The IRS encourages partners and community groups to share information and use available online tools and toolkits to help non-filers, low-income families and other underserved groups sign up to receive the advance Child Tax Credits as well as Economic Impact Payments. People can check their eligibility for the advance payments by using the new advance Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant.
Families can stop payments anytime
Families can stop payments anytime, even after payments begin. They do that by using the unenroll feature in the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. Eligible families who make this choice will still receive the rest of their Child Tax Credit as a lump sum when they file their 2021 federal income tax return next year. To stop all payments starting in September and the rest of 2021, they must unenroll by 11:59 p.m. ET on August 30, 2021.
For married couples, each spouse must unenroll separately. If they each choose to unenroll, they will receive no monthly payments. If only one spouse unenrolls, they will still receive monthly payments, but they will be half the normal amount.
The unenroll feature can also be helpful to any family that no longer qualifies for the CTC or believes they will not qualify when they file their 2021 return. This could happen if, for example, someone else, such as an ex-spouse or another family member, qualifies to claim their child or children as dependents in 2021.
Links to these tools, a step-by-step guide to using the Non-filer Sign-up Tool, answers to frequently asked questions and other helpful resources are available on the tax agency's special advance CTC 2021 page. It's at IRS.gov/childtaxcredit2021.