In less than two weeks, approximately forty million cash-strapped American families will get to begin enjoying their recurring monthly payments from the expanded child tax credits that were green-lighted by President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Seen by many as the unofficial version of the fourth round of coronavirus stimulus checks, these eagerly anticipated credits will give parents as much as $3,600 per year for a child under the age of six and up to $3,000 for children between ages six and seventeen. That amounts to a $250 or a $300 payment for each child every month through the end of the year.
As the July 15 payout date nears, many eligible parents are scrambling to settle on the most convenient way to receive the payments.
With this in mind, the Internal Revenue Service recently launched a handy new tool called the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, which is now available on IRS.gov. For parents seeking to change how they would like to be paid, they can make the changes there. Moreover, families can update their bank account information so that they can receive their payments promptly via direct deposit each month. Do keep in mind that any updates made by August 2 will apply to the August 13 and all subsequent payments.
“The Update Portal is a key piece among the three new tools now available on IRS.gov to help families understand, register for, and monitor these payments. We will be working across the nation with partner groups to share information and help eligible people receive the advance payments,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.
Take note that if the Update Portal shows that a household is eligible for the credits but not enrolled for direct deposits, they will receive a paper check each month.
“If they want to switch to receiving their payments by direct deposit, they can use the tool to add their bank account information,” the IRS says. “They do that by entering their bank routing number and account number and indicating whether it is a savings or checking account.”
If possible, the agency is pressing families to strongly consider switching to direct deposit.
“With direct deposit, families can access their money more quickly,” it says. “Direct deposit removes the time, worry and expense of cashing a check. In addition, direct deposit eliminates the chance of a lost, stolen or undelivered check.”
Also, be aware that some families might want to stop the recurring payments for tax reasons. The IRS says this can be accomplished at any time on the portal.
“Even after payments begin, families can stop all future monthly payments if they choose. 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,” the IRS states.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.