Hooray! This IRS tool will tell you if you are eligible for child tax credit payments


Parents will need their latest tax return to use the online tool.

Sarah Tew / CNET

You are only a few days from the first child tax credit check. The eligibility wizard for the advance child tax credit tells you if you are eligible for payments – and all you have to do is answer a few quick questions based on your most recent tax return, like your income, tax return status, and number of children. Additionally, if you do not yet have an account with the IRS, you can create one using ID.me, which is widely used by the IRS, Department of the Treasury and Social Security Administration.

Throughout the year, families who qualify based on income requirements and other rules will automatically receive monthly checks paid in advance. These checks will amount to half of the total credit for dependents 17 years of age and under. There’s also this piece of novelty: if you don’t want to get partial prepayments, you have time to unsubscribe before the August check using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. This means that you will get the full amount during tax time next year.

If you find out that you are eligible (the vast majority of households with children will), use CNET Child Tax Credit Calculator to see how much money you can expect to get over the course of the year – it could go up to $ 3,600 per child. Here is also what you need to know about how the the child tax credit will affect your taxes in 2022. We will update this story as needed.

What do I need to verify my eligibility for the child tax credit?

Before you begin, make sure you have a copy of your 2020 income tax return, or your 2019 income tax return if you have not yet filed your taxes this year (for example, if you have filed an extension). If you don’t have a tax return on hand, you can use your filing status and the number of children you have claimed, as well as an estimate of your total income for 2020.

How do I use the eligibility tool on the IRS website?

Once you’ve determined what your income was for 2020 or 2019, you can check your eligibility. Here’s how.

1. Go to Eligibility assistant for the advance child tax credit Tool page on the IRS website.

2. Tap or click Check your eligibility.

3. You will then need to answer a few questions about yourself and your taxes. For example, the form will ask if you claimed the child tax credit on a previous tax return.

4. You may need to provide additional information, depending on how you answered the questions. This is where you fill in your filing status, adjusted gross income, and the number of children you reported on your tax return (along with their ages).

5. After knocking following, the tool will let you know if you qualify based on the answers you provided. It will tell you how much each child under 6 qualifies you for and what amount each child 6 and over qualifies you for. It will also show you the details of the income phase-out.

6. From there, tap or click Manage your advance payments of the child tax credit, which will take you to child tax credit portal which allows you unsubscribe from monthly payments if you prefer to receive one large check instead of several smaller ones, or submit your information if you are not a registrant.

$ 300 cash with calculator

The Eligibility Assistant tool does not give you a personalized child tax credit amount.

Sarah Tew / CNET

What if I have a baby after the check-ups start in July?

If you have a baby after July 15 payment, you will need to update your information in the IRS Update Portal when this feature becomes available at the end of summer. Once the agency saves your updated information, you will be eligible to receive future payments. For example, if your baby was born on August 20, you might start receiving advance payments in September. You will have to wait until 2022 to get the July and August payments retroactively.

If your baby was born in December, you can claim the money you didn’t receive from July through December when you file your taxes next year. If you have a newborn baby in January 2022, you will not be entitled to the highest amount of money that was approved in the US bailout, but you may be eligible for the initial amount, unless the enhanced child tax credit not be extended.

What won’t the eligibility tool tell me?

  • The personalized total you will get from the child tax credit payment. He leaves it up to you to do the math.
  • How much will the payments be reduced if your income exceeds the limit.
  • All child tax credit payment dates.
  • Only one parent can claim the money for a particular child in a shared custody situation.

You can find answers to some of these questions in our Child tax credit faq.

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