(The Center Square) - The federal government is set to begin sending out monthly checks to millions of Americans next month, but a new IRS tool will allow them to defer the payments for a sizeable tax refund next year.
The $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus relief bill passed earlier this year included funding for a fully refundable, advanceable child tax credit. In accordance with that new law, qualifying families with children will begin receiving hundreds of dollars a month per child over the next several months.
Now, though, the IRS has announced an online portal where families can opt to defer that payment until receiving their tax refund next year.
"The Child Tax Credit Update Portal allows families to verify their eligibility for the payments and if they choose to, unenroll, or opt out from receiving the monthly payments so they can receive a lump sum when they file their tax return next year," the IRS said. "This secure, password-protected tool is available to any eligible family with internet access and a smart phone or computer. A Spanish version is also planned. Both the Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant and Child Tax Credit Update Portal are available now on IRS.gov."
The IRS will pay up to $300 monthly for children 6 years old and younger, and up to $250 for children older than 6. The cutoff is 17 years old.
"All working families will get the full credit if they make up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent..." the White House said.
Families that qualify will not need to sign up or take any action to receive the payment if they filed income taxes last year. The payments will begin July 15.
"The American Rescue plan increased the maximum Child Tax Credit amount in 2021 to $3,600 per child for children under the age of 6 and to $3,000 per child for children ages 6 through 17," the IRS said. "The advance Child Tax Credit payments, which will generally be made on the 15th of each month, create financial certainty for families to plan their budgets."
The IRS said the portal will be used to check the status of coming payments and change personal information. The federal government has had trouble with nationwide websites like this in the past, such as with the Affordable Care Act. So far, there have been no issues.
"IRS employees continue to work hard to help people receive this important credit," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said. "The Update Portal is a key piece among the three new tools now available on IRS.gov to help families understand, register for and monitor these payments. We will be working across the nation with partner groups to share information and help eligible people receive the advance payments."