Eligible families are set to receive a fifth round of child tax credit direct payments on Monday, Nov. 15.
The temporarily enhanced tax credits — included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Joe Biden in March — provide eligible parents with up to $3,600 per child over the course of a year.
The first half of the credit is being sent as monthly payments of up to $300 for the rest of 2021, and the second half can be claimed when parents file their income tax returns for 2021. The first four direct payments were sent out on July 15, Aug. 13, Sept. 15 and Oct. 15.
Here’s what to know ahead of November’s payments.
When will the payments be deposited?
Families receiving the payments via direct deposit should see the money hit their banks accounts Monday, Nov. 15.
Those receiving paper checks through the mail will need to “allow extra time, through the end of November,” for them to arrive, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
The next payment will go out Dec. 15. Those who currently receive checks through the mail and want to instead receive December’s via direct deposit can make changes using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal through Nov. 29.
Where payments will be sent
Eligible parents can use the update portal to check whether they will receive their November payment via direct deposit or through the mail, and to confirm to which bank account or mailing address the money will be sent.
They can also use the tool to update their bank account or mailing address. Nov. 1 was the deadline to make changes to bank account information ahead of November’s payment, but parents have until Nov. 29 to make changes before December’s payment.
Signing up for the payments
Eligible families who filed a 2019 or 2020 income tax return don’t need to do anything to receive the child tax credit.
But low-income families who do not typically file a tax return are still eligible for the credit and to receive direct payments. They can sign up online using the IRS’s non-filer sign up tool. The deadline to do so is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time Nov. 15.
“Families signing up now will normally receive half of their total Child Tax Credit receive (sic) on Dec. 15,” the IRS said. “This means a payment of up to $1,800 for each child under 6, and up to $1,500 for each child age 6 to 17. This is the same total amount that most other families have been receiving in up to six monthly payments that began in July.”
What to do if you’re missing a previous payment
Eligible families who have not received one of the first four rounds of payments should first check the update portal to make sure they are enrolled in direct payments and that they are being sent to the right place.
The IRS said it can’t track the payment unless it’s been:
▪ Five days “since the deposit date and the bank says it hasn’t received the payment”
▪ Four weeks since the payment was sent through the mail to a “standard address.”
▪ Six weeks since the payment was sent through the mail and there is a forwarding address on file.
▪ Nine weeks since the payment was mailed to an address outside the United States.
The payments going out Nov. 15 are based on tax returns processed by Nov. 1.
“Families who did not get a July, August, September or October payment and are getting their first monthly payment this month will still receive their total advance payment amount for the year (which is half of their total Child Tax Credit),” the IRS said. “This means that the total payment will be spread over two months, rather than six, making each monthly payment larger.”
Opting out of payments
Parents have the option to unenroll from the direct payments and instead receive a larger lump sum when they file their taxes for 2021. The deadline to opt out of November’s payment was Nov. 1. But parents have until Nov. 29 to opt out of the final payment scheduled for Dec. 15, the IRS said.
There is no option to re-enroll.
Both spouses need to opt out if married and filing jointly, the IRS said. If one only spouse unenrolls, they will receive half the joint payment they were supposed to receive with their spouse.
About the child tax credit
The tax credit provides families with $3,600 total per child under age 6 and $3,000 total per child ages 6 to 17.
Single parents earning up to $75,000 a year and couples earning up to $150,000 a year are eligible for the full credit. Benefits are then phased out for higher incomes.
The enhanced credit runs only through 2021. But House Democrats have proposed extending it through 2022 under a $1.9 trillion budget reconciliation package currently being negotiated, CNN reports. Under the proposal, heads of household earning up to $112,500 and joint filers earning up to $150,000 a year would receive monthly payments in 2022. Those with higher incomes would claim to entire credit on their income tax returns.
This story was originally published November 14, 2021 2:34 PM.