Hot topics | Coronavirus pandemic

Payment for October due in two days. What to know:

Payment for October due in two days. What to know:

In just two days, the next child tax credit payment is scheduled to arrive in millions of eligible parents' bank accounts. After that, families will only receive two more checks this year, with the remainder of the credit coming in the middle of tax season next year. If your household is waiting to receive one of the three monthly checks that have already been sent -- or you haven't received any money at all -- your October payment may be adjusted, depending on your situation.

Along the process, there have been several problems with payments, including missing checks, incorrect amounts, and outdated IRS records, ranging from income to number of dependents. Many parents have tried to update their household information online using the IRS Update Portal, but the tax agency has yet to provide that option.

One option is to completely skip the November and December checks. Families with complicated tax situations, or those who simply want the rest of their money in 2022, may opt out before the Nov. 1 deadline. It's too late to cancel your October check.

If you're worried about how the credit might affect your taxes next year, we'll tell you what to do. If your previous payment has been delayed or you received less than you expected, it may be time to file an IRS payment trace. Use CNET's calculator to see how much money your family should be receiving. This story is updated on a regular basis.

What are the payment dates for child tax credit checks?

The next payment will be made on Oct. 15 via direct deposit and post. Remember, you're getting half of the money in monthly payments this year, and the rest in 2022 when you file your taxes, unless you tell the IRS that you want to deduct the remaining advance payments to get them as part of your credit next year.

Your smallest payment, in other words, will arrive next year. You'll get a total of six smaller payments this year to start using immediately. The goal is to have money available sooner, which is why the checks are called "advance payments," to help pay for expenses like rent, food, and day care.

Is there still time to unenroll from the rest of the payments this year?

Advance payments are optional, and even though the vast majority of US households are eligible, there are still families that don't. If you believe your household situation will change drastically this year, you may choose not to pay the IRS to avoid having to repay it. The next deadline to opt out of monthly payments is Nov. 1 at 8:59 p.m. (11:59 p.m. PT) ET). Between now and December 31, 2017, the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal will be available online. If you don't meet income or other eligibility requirements, you may want to unenroll. Note that it's too late to unregister from the October payment.

The IRS says you must unregister three days before the first Thursday of the following month to stop advance payments. See the chart below for deadlines. Once you unenroll from this year's advance payments, you are no longer able to enroll, although the IRS promises to make that option available later. Note that for couples who are married and filing jointly, each parent must unregister separately.

How much money should my family expect to have each month?

The split between 2021 and 2022 of the child tax credit payments may be confusing. In six $300 monthly payments for each qualifying child age 5 and younger, up to $1,800 (half of the total) will be made for every qualifying baby age 5. Each kid between the ages of 6 and 17 will receive up to $1,500 in monthly payments of $250 six times this year.

Your child's eligibility for Medicaid is determined by their age on Dec. 31, 2021, and a 5-year-old turning 6 in 2022 will have taxable income of up to $250 per month. The remainder of the payment will come with your 2021 tax refund when you claim the remainder in 2022.

If you have dependents under 18 years old, they may qualify for $500 each. Dependents between the ages of 19 and 24 may qualify as well, but they must be enrolled in college full time. Here's more information on the financial details for qualified dependents.

Note that some parents who didn't receive payments in prior months may get adjustments made later, which may lead to higher amounts.

What are the income limits for parents to get the child tax credit?

Income limits determine how much you will receive and if you qualify, though there is no limit on the number of children you may receive tax credits for as long as you're eligible. This time, you may be eligible for the credit even if you don't have a job.

Single filers earning less than $75,000 per year, heads of household earning under $1122,500 per annum, and married couples earning more than $150,000 a year will be eligible for the entire amount.

The amount you'll get will gradually rise with higher incomes. According to Joanna Powell, managing director and certified financial planner at CBIZ, your child tax credit payments will be phased out by $50 per $1,000 of income over those threshold amounts. In other words, your family may still receive money above those income limits, but it won't be for the maximum payment.

What if one of my checks hasn't arrived or is missing?

One thing to keep in mind is that the IRS is targeting certain payment dates (see above). If you have direct deposit with the IRS set up, you may see a pending payment before the actual closing date. That means you may not be able to immediately obtain the money, but it's still in the works. Unfortunately, the advance credit isn't without its fair share of hiccups. Around 15% of families who received July's payment by direct deposit were not notified of their receipts in August because of a technical issue.

If you're sending the check by post, it may take longer for your payment to arrive. If you believe there is a problem after enough time, you may use the IRS Update Portal to correct your banking information or address. If you're worried about missing payments, you may file an IRS payment trace. Check this page for more information on missing payments.

Could the advance payments affect my taxes when it's time to file next spring?

If you're eligible for advance payments and use the extra cash this year, you may receive the second half of your total on your taxes next year. To compare the amount of child tax credit money you'll receive in 2021 to the maximum you may claim, you will need to know the total amount. The IRS will send you a letter with your personal estimate that you may use for your 2021 tax return.

Since the IRS uses your 2019 or 2020 tax return, your family may not be eligible for the child tax credit when you file your 2021 tax returns in 2022, or it may have issued an "overpayment." In this situation, you may have to repay the IRS some or all of the credit. The child tax credit rules aren't as flexible as the stimulus check rules regarding overpayment. If you and the other parent (who isn't your spouse) of your child both claimed the child tax credit for the same dependent, as an example, it might happen if you were jointly liable for your children's child'' s tax liability.

To avoid this inconvenience, ensure that all of your information is updated as soon as possible. The IRS claims that the Update Portal will soon allow you to make adjustments to verify your new income and number of children. Another option is to withdraw from early child tax credit payments and get the money in 2022. Here's what you should know about how the payments will affect your tax refund next year.

Play now: Watch this: Everything we know about the Child tax credit:
4:17

How do the IRS portals assist parents with payments?

This summer, the IRS released its child tax credit online portals. The first portal is for individuals who aren't typically required to file an income tax return, such as low-income families. The Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant tool -- now available in English and Spanish -- assists families in quickly determining whether they are eligible.

The Child Tax Credit Update Portal currently allows families to check their eligibility, manage their payments, and unregister from the advance monthly payments. Parents can update their direct deposit information and mailing address via the portal. The IRS said that later this year this portal will allow families to update other information if their circumstances changed -- for example, a new child has arrived or will arrive in 2021 and isn't included on your 2020 tax return. You should then be able to update your marital status, income, or dependents to have the most up-to-date eligibility information.

This handy PDF also describes what the portals do.

Can parents who don't file taxes get child tax credit checks?

Payments will be automatically made for those filing their 2020 tax returns (or those who claimed all dependents on a 2019 tax return). Parents who didn't file taxes should utilize the new IRS tool, called the "Non-filer Sign-up tool," to get their money even if you're not required to file. This will tell the IRS about your income level and how many dependents in your household count towards the child tax credit benefits. You may also file a tax return to get the entire monthly child tax credit payment you're due.

The IRS says that individuals who don't file taxes must register online by the extended tax deadline on Oct. 15.

Can I get child tax credit money if I have a baby later this year?

If you have a baby in 2021, it will count towards the child tax credit payment of $3,600. Children who are adopted may also be considered if they are US citizens. Once the Update Portal has been launched, you'll be able to update the IRS on a new dependent.

Is there anything I must do if I have shared custody of my child?

Parents who had custody of a child but weren't married to each other were entitled to claim money for the same child for both of the first two stimulus checks. That was only if they alternated years for claiming the dependent -- in other words, i.e., one parent claimed the child on their taxes in odd years while the other claimed it on its taxes on his taxes within even years.

This is no longer allowed for the third check, and we're told it won't work in that fashion for child tax credit payments. Here's what we've learned so far about child tax credit and shared custody situations.

If the child moves homes this year, the parents will have to agree who will claim the baby on their taxes this time. The parent who claims the child and receives the Child Tax Credit payments will need to complete Form 8332 and include it with the tax return. If you don't qualify or want to receive the money in one lump sum, you may opt out of early payments. Remember, if you're not a taxpayer but receive the money, you may have to pay the IRS back during tax time.

Is there any chance that the enhanced child tax credit will be extended beyond 2022?

While no decision has been made, it's not entirely off the table. This fall, the Senate and House are negotiating the details of a budget reconciliation bill that could extend the payments. Congress is considering a bill that will cost $1.9 to $2.2 trillion. If the higher amount of the two is approved by Congress, it may potentially lead to an extension of this child tax credit until 2025.

CNET How To Use CNet How You Can Use It

Learn clever gadget and internet tricks with our entertaining and ingenious how-tos.

You may also like: