In less than a month, the final payment of the 2021 child discount will arrive. Another $15 billion round will go to about 36 million families, capping one of the federal government’s most extraordinary responses to the financial damage of the coronavirus pandemic. But not every check will be equal this time. Some people get a check that is too big in December to make up for their money. Other people completely unsubscribe from this series of six checks. Importantly, the IRS Child Tax Portal is a linchpin in that regard.
A short summary
As of this month, some people had not yet started receiving the children’s discount. Which, remember, stem from the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill earlier this year. And they promised an extra few hundred dollars a month for households with eligible children. So what does the IRS’s special site have to do with this process?
First some background. By the time it’s over, 2021 will have yielded six of those checks. One each month, starting July 15 and ending December 15. There is a chance that these monthly payments could continue for another year. That’s because Democrats in the US House on Friday finally passed President Biden’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act. That bill now goes to the Senate — and as of now, it includes a one-year extension of the child tax credit extension.
However, there is no guarantee that an extension will survive the bickering about to happen in the Senate. In particular, two Democrats (Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin) have firmly opposed many aspects of Biden’s big-spending plans.
Now let’s return to the IRS portal and why it matters.
Details of the IRS Child Tax Portal
We noted above that some people have signed up to start issuing their child discount late. If that’s you, you can use this portal to check and make sure you’re squared for the next month.
Most people get the normal child tax credit of a few hundred dollars on December 15th. However, if this is your first or second stimulus check, the IRS will send you a much larger amount. That’s to make sure you get the same amount (again, in one or two checks) that everyone else needed six checks to get.
Under “How it works” on the IRS portal, as you can see above, you can easily verify that you are enrolled in payments. In the meantime, some people also want to make sure that they are unsubscribed from the monthly payments. The deadline to do this is Nov. 29 at 11:59 PM ET, and you can use the IRS Child Tax Portal to do that.
No more checks in 2021
As a reminder: after December, no child discount will be paid in 2021.
The IRS says it will send a letter, likely in early 2022, for families to use when filling out their federal tax forms next year. This letter contains all the details of the child discount checks starting this year. And recipients will use that information to accurately prepare their tax returns.
Families will also have to claim the second half of this year’s child tax credit on their tax returns next year. That is separate from any extension of the credit for 2022 that may be approved.