The IRS will have two online child tax credit portals open by July 1. That’s where you’ll change your status and more.

The child tax credit payments are coming — the good news is 88% of American families will qualify for at least some money. However, to make sure you get the right amount (and to make sure you’re not overpaid), you may need to do a little work first. That’s where these two new IRS portals will come in.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the two portals but they will be key to updating your information — for instance, if you don’t normally file a tax return, if there’s a change in the number of dependents or if you want to opt-out of the monthly payments. We’ll tell you everything we know so far. We update this story as we get new info.

As you prepare for your payments from the IRS to arrive, here are some different ways to use your child tax credit checks, how you may receive your payment (hint: it could be on a debit card) and how you can claim an additional $8,000 to $16,000 credit for child care expenses.

What are the IRS child tax credit portals for?

Right now, we know there will be two online IRS child tax credit portals to help you make changes. Here’s what they’re for.

  • The main portal will be used to let families opt out of receiving the monthly child tax credit payments — this is for those who would rather have one large payment next year.
  • The other portal will be for families who don’t typically file their tax returns. This will help make sure their information is up to date, such as if they’ve gained new dependents.

See more details for each of the portals below.

What can you do when the IRS online child tax credit portals open?

Taxpayer families will be able to make changes to any life circumstances since they last filed their taxes, such as an income change and child custody status. For example, if you started making less money this year, you’ll want to update the IRS about those changes so you can get the correct child tax credit amount.

If you had or will have a new baby this year, it’s important to let the IRS know, so you can receive your payment for up to $3,600 for that child. The same applies if you adopted a child or if you gained a new child dependent since you last filed your taxes. 


Also, if you’ve gained full custody of your child, you’ll be the parent who receives the money for your kid. Note that parents who have shared custody will not each get a payment. This is important for domestic violence survivors, Nina Olson, executive director of the Center for Taxpayer Rights said during an IRS oversight hearing. “That change of circumstances portal should allow them to enter their change in marital status and also where the children are.”

When will eligible families have access to the two online portals?

The IRS has set an open deadline of July 1, though we don’t have an exact date yet. The portals could come online sooner than that. The IRS is simultaneously processing tens of millions of tax returns, which may affect the timeline while it also organizes the child tax credit program.

Can families opt out of monthly payments using one of the online IRS portals?

The main portal will let you opt out of receiving the monthly child tax credit payments. What does that mean? It means that instead of receiving monthly payments of, say, $300 for your 4-year-old, you can wait until you file your 2021 taxes next year to receive the $3,600 lump sum amount.

You may also want to opt out because you’re expecting your circumstances to change and don’t want to update your information in the portal.

Will the online portals be useful for people who typically aren’t required to file taxes?

The IRS will open a second portal dedicated to people who don’t typically file their income taxes. This child tax credit portal will allow this group to give the IRS their updated information, including the number and ages of their qualifying child dependents. 

The portal is expected to let tax nonfilers submit a simplified electronic form to the IRS to secure their eligibility. This group would include people who don’t have bank accounts, as well as the homeless population.

What can families do if they don’t have a permanent address right now? 

Right now, the IRS is urging people to share information about the child tax credit to those who don’t have permanent addresses. By doing this, you’re helping make sure eligible people receive the payments they’re eligible for. You can share the information about the portals with them so they know about the programs to help them file a tax return.

IRS child tax credit portals — information we’re still waiting to hear

There are plenty of details that are still unclear about the IRS’ child tax credit portals, including:

  • The exact date the portals will be available to families.
  • How the portals will work for families updating their information.
  • How families will differentiate between the two portals.
  • The process for opting out of the monthly payments.

For more child tax credit 2021 details, here’s how much money you can expect to get. Also, here’s what it takes for you and your dependents to qualify for the payments.

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