With only four monthly child tax credit payments left, will checks be extended? Here’s the latest

Expect a few more payments this year as well as a payout next spring. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

As of now, there’s no guarantee that child tax credit payments will be extended. Eligible parents will receive the third child tax credit check next week, Sept. 15. But after this month, parents will only have three checks left in 2021. The big difference from the years prior is that parents with qualifying dependents are getting half of the total in monthly checks instead of one lump sum during tax time every month between July and December. The other half of the money will come during tax time. 

But if you want to make changes or opt out before the next check arrives there are deadlines to keep in mind. The next deadline to update your household circumstances or unenroll before the October check is Oct. 4. In the meantime, there are a collection of online tools parents can use to manage their monthly payments and information (more below). 

We’ll share the latest on extending the advance monthly checks, future payment dates and opt out deadlines to add to your calendar for the remainder of the year. And if you need to add more dependents to your account or update your income, you can use the Update Portal to make those changes ahead of the fourth payment. But if you’re not sure that you qualify for the money, here are a few reasons why you may want to unenroll from the monthly payment program and what to do if you’ve received the wrong payment amount

When are the remaining child tax credit checks coming this year?

Counting September’s batch, the IRS has four more rounds of payments to send to those who qualify. The IRS has sent more than $30 billion in the July and August rounds of payments, and 80% of those were direct deposits; the rest went out as checks in the mail. 

Here are the send dates to keep track of for the payments for September through December and then the one in 2022:

  • Sept. 15
  • Oct. 15
  • Nov. 15
  • Dec. 15 (last payment of 2021)
  • Tax season 2022 (remainder of money)

When will the other half of the total child tax credit amount arrive?

After you receive whatever payments the IRS sends you this year, the remainder of your money will come with your tax refund in 2022, after you file your tax return next tax season. While the IRS did extend the 2020 and 2021 tax seasons due to the pandemic, you typically have from the end of January to April 15 to file.

When is the deadline to opt out of advance child tax credit checks?

If you decide to unenroll from the monthly payments this year, you still have time to have the remainder of your child tax credit money show up next tax season. You may decide to unenroll, for example, if you think you may need to pay back money when you file your taxes in 2022.

Note that the IRS opt-out deadlines are about two weeks ahead of the payment dates. If you miss one deadline for a round of checks, your changes will take effect with the next round. And these are the same deadlines you need to hit for making other changes to your account, such as adding your banking information or changing your mailing address. While the Update Portal doesn’t yet allow you to make changes to your income, marital status and number of dependents, you should be able to do so before the October payment. 

The IRS said if you unenroll and then change your mind, you’ll be able to opt back in sometime in late September. Here are the remaining dates by which you would need to unenroll.

  • You can no longer opt out of the September payment
  • Oct. 4 (for October payment)
  • Nov. 1 (for November payment)
  • Nov. 29 (for December payment)

Will advance child tax credit payments be extended?

Senate Democrats are reportedly considering extending the current child tax credit payment program. But the amount of money may be lesser than this year’s payments. The payments could be extended until 2024, but the total amount could be $2,000 instead of the $3,600 or $3,000 total that eligible parents are receiving this year. Extending the program for three years would account for $330 billion, but as of now, it’s not guaranteed.  

How can I calculate my credit ahead of tax season?

To help you file your taxes next year and either claim whatever amount the IRS still owes you or — much less likely — repay money you received but didn’t qualify for, the IRS will send you a letter in January 2022 with the total amount of child tax credit money you received in 2021. You’ll use information from this letter, which the IRS is calling Letter 6419, when you file your tax return.

For more, here’s everything you need to know about child tax credit requirements and dates and what to do if you need to track down a missing payment. Here’s also what we know about what the spending bills making their way through Congress could mean for you.

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