The Internal Revenue Service has a holiday gift for eligible families who've yet to collect their Advance Child Tax Credit payments.
If sign up by Monday, Nov. 15, for the early-issue amounts, which are up to $300 per month for each child younger than age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 through 17, you'll get all the money you qualify for in mid-December.
That definitely could challenge Santa for the seasonal present delivery crown.
Bumped up and early tax break: The Child Tax Credit (CTC) already was a popular tax break for middle- and low-income families. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) made it even better for the 2021 tax year, bumping it up from the normal $2,000 per qualifying child.
That means the full credit this year for younger children is worth $3,600 for younger children, $3,000 for older youngsters
Even better, ARPA provides for eligible recipients to get half their CTC this year, rather than having to wait to claim it when they file returns next year. The IRS started delivering these Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) amounts in July to around 36 million families as monthly installments.
When the year wraps up, eligible families will have received $1,800 or $1,500 per child, depending on their kiddos' ages. They then will claim the remaining half of the CTC next tax filing season.
No IRS records mean no early credit cash: Some families, however, have yet to receive any AdvCTC money. The main reason for missing out is that the IRS doesn't know about them.
The IRS has been distributing the AdvCTC monthly payments based on the data is has in its system. Generally, this is filings for the 2019 or 2020 tax years.
But these parents didn't make enough money to require them to file a return last year or the one before.
So, no IRS record = no AdvCTC money.
But there's time to change that. Just not much time.
Sign up NOW! The IRS will send taxpayers who are due the AdvCTC but haven't received any of it the full amounts in the December distribution.
That's right. The full early-issued amount. So you won't get a check for just $300 or $250 per child, but the full half AdvCTC you should have been receiving since this summer.
However, the IRS has to know who these missing AdvCTC recipients are. And the agency needs to know by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, Nov. 15, in order to the info into the system.
Online enrollment only: To let the IRS know you want the AdvCTC deliver on Dec. 15, click on over to the IRS' special Advance Child Tax Credit Payments in 2021 web page.
That online site has information on who qualifies for the CTC, an interactive tool to see if you qualify, and, of course, a way to enroll (a screen shot excerpt is below) for the final payment(s) going out in December.
That IRS link eventually will take you to the nonfilers signup tool at GetCTC.org. The page defaults to English, but there's a link in the upper right corner where you can switch it to Spanish.
Signing up online is the only way to get the AdvCTC payments. And when you do so, the IRS recommends you also provide bank information so your credit amount can be directly deposited on Dec. 15. If you don't have a bank or credit union account, my earlier post on opening an account has some suggestions.
Don't miss the deadline: Again, because it's worth repeating, if you sign up by tomorrow, Monday, Nov. 15 — which is this weekend's By the Numbers figure — you'll get the full advance Child Tax Credit amount you're due, which could be $1,800 for each child younger than age 6 and/or $1,500 for each youngster ages 6 to 17.
Those totals are the amounts that most other families have been receiving in up to six monthly payments that began in July.
And again, because it's also worth repeating, you must do so by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. If you live in another time zone, adjusted your deadline accordingly.
Actually, don't push the deadline to the literal last minute. Sign up now. Then wait for your December tax credit gift from Uncle Sam.
Even better, for this December delivery you have to set out any cookies and milk. Feel free to eat them yourself.
You also might find these items of interest:
- Income update feature debuts Nov. 1 on IRS Child Tax Credit portal
- 6 Advance Child Tax Credit questions still being asked … and the answers!
- A Child Tax Credit work requirement likely wouldn't work as proponents predict