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Advance Child Tax Credit opt-out deadline for August payment is Monday, 8/2

Mother and children walking on beach

You got your first Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) this month. The added $300 for each of your kiddos age 5 or younger or $250 per child if your youngsters are age 6 through 17 is nice.

But your 2021 financial situation has changed, and you've done the math. The calculations show that this COVID-19 relief money, authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act and which the Internal Revenue Service is sending based on your 2020 tax year filing data, no longer applies.

In fact, since you're making a bit more money this year, if you keep getting the AdvCTC amounts in monthly installments through the end of 2021, you'll likely have to pay back at least some of it when you file your taxes next year.

Ending early credits: So stop the AdvCTC payments. You can go to the Internal Revenue Service's online Child Tax Credit Update Portal to halt them.

But you need to act fast.

The opt-out deadline to ensure that you don't and AdvCTC for August and beyond is Monday, Aug. 2.

If you decide you want to get one month of early Child Tax Credit cash, that's fine, too. You can stop the payments later. Here's the IRS' schedule of when you need to act:

Payment
Month

Unenrollment
Deadline

Payment
Date

August

8/2/2021

8/13/2021

September

8/30/2021

9/15/2021

October

10/4/2021

10/15/2021

November

11/1/2021

11/15/2021

December

11/29/2021

12/15/2021

 

You must do so by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, so take note of the time zone designation and adjust accordingly if you live in the more western three-quarters of the United States.

Online unenrollment requirements: Before you head to the special IRS webpage to end the AdvCTC payments, gather all the required information.

If you already created an IRS taxpayer account, sign on to that. It has a link to the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.

If you don't have an IRS account, you'll need to create one using ID.me, a credentialed service the IRS has selected to support its online login services.

Both IRS Secure Access taxpayer accounts and new ones established via ID.me use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to verify that it's really you who wants to make AdvCTC changes. The IRS also notes that if you have an existing account with ID.me from a state government or other federal agency, you may use that email and password combination to complete the MFA process.

Yes, MFA is a bit of a pain, but one that most of us who make any kind of online transactions are increasing used to encountering. It's just as critical when dealing with tax matters, and no surprise that it's part of the AdvCTC verification process given the IRS' continued focus on stopping tax identity theft.

Once the IRS verifies that it is indeed you, not someone pretending to be you, you can make your AdvCTC changes, including stopping the payments.

Opting out, despite the online message: Once you've opted out of the advance payments, you're done. But, notes the IRS, it may take up to seven calendar days for your opt-out request to be finalized. You can check back after unenrolling to make sure the tax agency followed through.

You also might get an error message. Wait, what? An IRS online system has a glitch? OK, I'm done with today's sarcastic aside. The screenshot of the unwanted message is below.

AdvCTC unenrollment error message_full

In case you're not getting images, or reading this on a smaller mobile device, the entitled "Important Message from the IRS" says:

"If you unenrolled on or before Aug. 2, 2021, you will not receive advance payments. You may have received a message that your unenroll request failed or is processing. We're working to update our system to fix any errors as quickly as possible. Do not submit another unenroll request."

Personally, I would, as noted a bit earlier in this section of this post, double check (probably every day, but that's obsessive me) that my unenrollment was completed.

More opt-out info: Finally, here's a bit more about opting out of Advance Child Tax Credit payments.

If you're married and file a joint return, your spouse also will need to unenroll. When just one husband or wife opts out, the IRS will continue to send the other spouse half of the joint payment amount.

And since we all know that permanence is fluid in the tax world, if you decide that you do, after all, want the AdvCTC amounts this year, you'll get another shot at deliveries. The IRS says it is working on a portal update that will, by late September, allow you to re-enroll in the monthly payments.

You can find more in the "of interest" items below, as well as at the IRS special AdvCTC unenrollment questions and answers page.

You also might find these items of interest:

 

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