Here’s How to Unenroll From Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments – And Why You Might Want To

Close up of a father and daughter in their kitchen.
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The first installment of the monthly advanced payments of the child tax credit started hitting millions of bank accounts on July 15. This credit consists of half of the total credit — i.e., $1,800 of the $3,600 credit per child under age six and $1,500 of the $3,000 credit per child ages six to 17 — paid to eligible families in six monthly installments of $250 or $300. The IRS will issue the payments from July through December, and parents will claim the remaining half of the credit next year during tax time. 

See: Why Your Child Tax Credit Might Be Lower This Year
Find: Direct Deposit Deadline for August’s Child Tax Credit Payment

There are several reasons why you might choose to unenroll from these automatic payments. Eligibility for child tax credit payments is based on your 2020 tax return. If you or your spouse’s income increased in 2021 to surpass the income threshold for the child tax credit, it is likely you will then have a tax bill and owe the IRS money. The income threshold for the full credit is $75,000 for individual filers and $150,000 for joint filers. 

Personal preference can also be a reason for opting out. If you prefer to receive one lump sum next year versus several small payments and a smaller lump sum next year, it could be a good idea to opt-out of the monthly payments now. Keep in mind that this means you will have to wait until your 2021 return is processed to receive this money. 

Opting Out

You can opt-out any time this year and stop receiving your monthly payments. This means you can receive your first payment in July, then change your mind and opt out for the remaining monthly payments. However, the IRS says you must opt-out three days before the first Thursday of the month in order to not receive the next month’s payment. To skip any further payments you need to unenroll by August 2. Should you miss a deadline, you will receive the following month’s payment while the IRS processes your request to unenroll.

Make Your Money Work For You

See: How Can I Check the Status of My Child Tax Credit?
Find: Not Signed Up for Child Tax Credit Direct Deposit? Here’s When To Expect Paper Checks

If you’re married, you and your spouse both must unenroll. Otherwise, the spouse who remains enrolled will receive half the joint payment you’re eligible for.

In order to opt-out, you will need to access the online child tax credit portal, scroll down to “Manage Advance Payments” and verify your identity through Id.Me. Once you have entered the portal, you will need to click on the option to “Opt-Out” of the child tax credit altogether.

Important to note: Once you unenroll, you cannot re-enroll until late September. You will receive any unpaid credit — i.e., the payments due while you were unenrolled — as a lump sum after you file your 2021 tax return.

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Last updated: July 19, 2021


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