Pay attention to 3 Child Tax Credit deadlines to collect up to $1,800 per child by end of year

"The CTC is making it easier for people to make ends meet."


Families who haven't received advance payments of the new enhanced Child Tax Credit still have time to receive up to $1,800 per child before the end of 2021 — so long as they pay attention to three key dates.

The two remaining CTC advance payments under the American Rescue Plan that President Joe Biden signed into law in March are set to arrive on November 15 and December 15. Since July 15, eligible parents have received up to $300 per month for each qualifying child under the age of 6, and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 to 17.

In total, the six payments amount to half of the full value of the tax credit, or up to $1,800 for each child, under 6, and up to $1,500 for each child, ages 6 to 17. The second half of the credit will be applied when families file their 2021 taxes next spring.

"Data released by the Census Bureau continue to show that the advance monthly payments of the CTC have reduced food insecurity," says Elaine Maag, a principal research associate at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. "The data also show people are using the credits to pay off bills. In short, the CTC is making it easier for people to make ends meet."

Here are the three key dates parents need to know in order to receive the advance Child Tax Credit payments.

November 1: Portal allows for income updates

November 1, 2021, is an important date for two different reasons. First, starting on November 1, parents will be able to update their their income using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, which they weren't able to do before.

"The new income feature can help families make sure they are getting the right amount of advance Child Tax Credit payments during 2021," the tax agency wrote on its website. "For married couples, if one spouse makes the income update, it will apply to both spouses and could impact both spouses' future monthly advance payments of the Child Tax Credit."

Second, November 1 was the deadline the IRS has set for families to note any significant income changes, in order for those updates to be reflected in their November 15 payment.

November 15: File a simplified return to claim CTC payments

If you qualify but haven't received an advance payment, that may be because you don't typically file a tax return. The site GetCTC.org, started by Code for America in collaboration with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the White House, allows Americans to file a simplified tax return in order to received advance CTC payments.

The deadline to file a simplified return and sign up for CTC payments is November 15. "Families who sign up will normally receive half of their total Child Tax Credit on December 15," according to the IRS. "This means a payment of up to $1,800 for each child under 6, and up to $1,500 for each child, ages 6 to 17."

The IRS has been sending monthly payments out automatically to parents who qualify for the CTC. To qualify for the full credit you must be a single filer with a modified adjusted gross income of less than $75,000, or a single parent filing as head of household with a MAGI less than $112,500, or a married couple filing jointly with less than $150,000 in income. The credit phases out for taxpayers with higher incomes.

Use Grow's calculator below to see how much you could get under the enhanced credit.

November 29: Update income details for the final December payment

Parents who have had significant changes in their income have until November 29 to let the IRS know in order to receive the correct advance CTC when the final 2021 payment is distributed on December 15. Any changes "will increase or decrease their monthly payments to ensure they receive half of their total expected credit before the end of 2021," according to the IRS.

Families can make those adjustments in the portal.

"If that deadline is missed, they can receive the full credit by filing their 2021 tax return in early 2022," says Maag. "All people who have received the CTC thus far will need to file a tax return in early 2022 to receive the second half of their credit."

The enhanced child tax credit: What you need to know

Video by Helen Zhao

The future of the Child Tax Credit

President Joe Biden's original Build Back Better bill proposed expanding the enhanced CTC through 2025. Last week, the Biden administration unveiled a slimmed down proposal.

According to the current framework of the now $1.75 trillion proposal, the enhanced CTC would only be extended through 2022.

The proposal would keep the credit as fully refundable. Unlike a nonrefundable tax credit, which can only bring your tax bill down to $0, a refundable credit can generate a tax refund if it exceeds what you owe. "Meaning that the neediest families will continue to receive the full Child Tax Credit over the long run," according to the White House.

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