Families in the U.S. have had some financial reprieve following the first two distributions of the expanded child tax credit payments from the Internal Revenue Services (IRS).
Parents mostly used the money, amounting to $300 a month per child, for childcare services, food and grocery needs, school supplies, and utility bill payments. Some parents also kept the credit for their children's savings.
A recent report from the parenting organization, ParentsTogether Action, suggested that one child tax credit payment alone, which was rolled out on July 15, has relieved the financial anxiety of at least 56 percent of American families. While the coverage of this expanded payment is good for the 2021 tax year, Democrats in Congress are planning to extend the scheme for many years to come.
However, such a plan will still take months to finalize, depending on how the debate among lawmakers goes. Meanwhile, there are still four child tax credit payments left for the rest of this year.
Key Dates for the Next Rollout
In announcing the rollout, the IRS said that direct deposit payments would be expected among eligible taxpayers every 15th of the month from July to December. Thus, the next batches of credits will be reflected on the taxpayers' enrolled bank accounts on September 15, October 15, November 15, and December 15. As with the first two payments in July and August, direct deposits are automatic.
However, taxpayers who have opted to receive their credit by postal mail may expect some extra few days to see their check payments. Families who have not received the benefits because they don't have their 2019 or 2020 tax returns on the IRS portal can still sign up through the IRS Non-Filer Tool.
According to the White House, child tax credit payments "do not count as income for any family," so it will not affect other benefits that taxpayers receive. Non-filers will have to provide their Social Security Numbers or ITIN, mailing address, e-mail address, and bank account information (for direct deposits.)
Key Dates for Making Changes
Parents or taxpayers who need to make changes on their child tax credit payment enrollments should also remember that updates on their profile at the IRS portal have deadlines. These changes will apply if they have originally requested for check payments but plan on switching to direct deposit, or if they are moving house and changing address, or if they want to opt-out of the scheme for whatever reason.
The deadlines for updating and opting out are August 30 (for payments made in September), October 4 (for payments made in October), November 1 (for payments made in November, and November 29 (for payments made in December). If they missed out on these days, they could try to update their IRS profile at least three days before the month's first Thursday arrives to ensure that there will be no delays in their expected credit.
The IRS also said that they would introduce more features to enhance the usability of the child tax credit portal and minimize problems in the distribution of the credit. In September, the parents who have previously unenrolled in the scheme may be able to re-enroll to get their monthly deposits.
There are also plans to allow taxpayers to change the money they receive on the portal sometime in the fall. As of press time, the IRS has not yet confirmed when these features will be ready.
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