Child Tax Credit: Letters sent to families who may qualify for monthly payments

The Internal Revenue Service has begun sending letters to more than 36 million American families who may be eligible to receive monthly Child Tax Credit payments starting in July.

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The letters are going to families who may be eligible based on information they included in either their 2019 or 2020 federal income tax return, or who used the Non-Filers tool on IRS.gov last year to register for an Economic Impact Payment, the IRS said on its website.

According to the agency, families who are eligible for the payments will receive a second, personalized letter listing an estimate of their monthly payment.

The payments will begin on July 15 with families receiving advance payments, either by direct deposit or check. The payment will be up to $300 per month for each qualifying child under age 6, and up to $250 per month for each qualifying child ages 6 to 17.

The IRS will send those payments monthly on July 15, August 13, September 15, October 15, November 15 and December 15.

Those payments will be up to 50% of the Child Tax Credit.

Eligible taxpayers who do not want to receive advance payment of the 2021 Child Tax Credit will have the opportunity to decline those payments and take the full tax credit on their 2021 income tax return.

The IRS will be launching two portals in the next few weeks, the agency said. One will help families determine whether they qualify for the Advance Child Tax Credit payments. The other will allow families to opt out of the advance payment program.

Later this year, it will allow people to check on the status of their payments and make updates to their information, and will be available in Spanish, the IRS said.

Most families do not need to take any action to get their payment.

The American Rescue Plan raised the maximum Child Tax Credit in 2021 to $3,600 for qualifying children under the age of 6, and to $3,000 per child for qualifying children between ages 6 and 17.

The new maximum credit is available to taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income (AGI) of:

· $75,000 or less for singles,

· $112,500 or less for heads of household, and

· $150,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return, and for qualified widows and widowers.

Normally, the IRS will calculate the payment amount based on the 2020 tax return. If that return is not available, either because it has not yet been filed or it has not yet been processed, the IRS will instead determine the payment amount using the 2019 return, the agency said.

For more information on the Child Tax Credit and advance payments, visit Advance Child Tax Credit Payments in 2021.