The final monthly child tax credit payment for 2021 is quickly approaching — and so is the deadline to claim money for your family.
Monday, Nov. 15, is the last day to sign up for advance payments of the child tax credit, which the Biden administration increased earlier this year. Americans are eligible for up to $3,600 per child, depending on age. Though it's typically a tax-time thing, qualified families could choose to receive half of the credit as an advance, paid out in six monthly installments starting in July.
The government automatically opted most families in to these payments. If you filed tax returns for 2019 or 2020, or used the IRS's non-filer tool to get your COVID-19 stimulus checks, you're already signed up — and likely have been receiving the payments thus far. (Unless you specifically chose to opt out of them as a tax strategy.)
But if your family fell through the cracks because you're not normally required to file taxes, and as a result you're not getting the child tax credit checks you're entitled to, the time to fix that is running out.
GetCTC, an official tool created by Code for America, closes Monday. GetCTC allows people earning less than $12,400 and married couples earning less than $24,800 to file a simplified tax return.
That simplified return can unlock not only child tax credit payments but also help you claim any outstanding stimulus check funds you're owed.
GetCTC is available in Spanish, and you can use it on a mobile phone. You don't need to have a job or income in order to claim the money. However, you should come prepared: You'll need your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, among other personal details, to fill out the form.
There's a lot of money at stake. If you sign up before the Monday deadline, you'll get half of your total child tax credit on Dec. 15 — as much as $1,800 per child under 6 and as much as $1,500 per child 6 to 17. That's a big boost heading into the expensive holiday shopping season.
If you don't make the deadline, you'll have to wait until you file your 2021 taxes in the spring to claim the full child tax credit.
Other upcoming child tax credit deadlines for 2021
Somewhat confusingly, Monday is also the day the November child tax credit payment goes out to families who have already signed up.
On top of that, the IRS recently updated its systems to allow families to change their income information in order to get a more accurate payout. You may want to do this if you, say, lost your job in 2021 or earned significantly more money than you did in previous years. The deadline to take care of this — and have it show up in your December payment — is Nov. 29. You can adjust your income with the IRS in its Child Tax Credit Update Portal.
Nov. 29 is the deadline for families to opt out of, or change the banking information for, their December child tax credit payment, too. (FYI: You can't re-enroll, so be sure of your decision.)