Do you qualify for the child tax credit next month? Here are 3 ways to see

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Eligible parents could receive an advance monthly payment of $ 250 or $ 300 in less than three weeks.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Are any of your friends, relatives or colleagues eligible for the first payment of the child tax credit on July 15? Better yet, are you and your dependents eligible? Now that some useful online tools were made available by the IRS, a little time and effort can help see if you are eligible. Inevitably, it depends heavily on income requirements and age limits, but the vast majority of American households with children can benefit from it.

There are also specific rules, including for people in shared custody arrangement or living outside the United States. And there is a bit more prep work for families who are generally not required to file an income tax return (which IRS calls it a “non-filer”). And to top it off, we can help calculate how much you’ll be fine next year, so you can start planning.

For more details on the child tax credit, you can read this primer on payments. We can explain how to use ID.me to connect to IRS tools, and explain how this year’s payments could allocate your taxes next year. We have also put together some key details about receiving the third stimulus payment. This story was recently updated.

1. Look for two letters from the IRS in the mail

If a letter arrives in your IRS mailbox, don’t despair. Chances are, the tax agency is telling you that you are one of the 36 million families that may be eligible for a child tax credit. The IRS will send the letter if it has determined that you may qualify for the child tax credit based on your 2019 or 2020 federal income tax return. If you generally don’t report taxes, the IRS can use any information you have submitted online, using what is called the non-filtering tool, to let you know your eligibility if you have children.

And it’s only the first letter that warns you that you may be eligible. The IRS plans to send out a second letter to confirm you’re eligible and to estimate how much child tax credit you might get when payments start on July 15. To recap, the tax credit can go up to $ 3,600 per child under 6, and up to $ 3,000 for each child aged 6 to 17. When broken down into advance monthly payments that you could choose to receive this year, that works out to $ 300 or $ 250 per child.

You don’t have to do anything if you receive this letter except keep it in case you need to reference it later. Non declarants and others who do not receive the letter, do not worry yet. Here is more to know about IRS letter – and read on for more qualifying tips.


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2. Use the online eligibility wizard and register through the IRS portals

As of June 22, the IRS has its two web portals open to help you get child tax credit money. the portal for non-declarants opened last week, while the second portal called the Update the portal open Tuesday. Another tool, a interactive eligibility assistant, can help families determine if they are eligible – this is useful if you haven’t received a letter in the mail from the IRS regarding your eligibility.

Online portals allow you to add new information, correct or update outdated details – like the number of children you have – and make a few other decisions about withdrawing multiple small payments.

$ 300 cash with calculator

Calculating your child tax credit payment in advance can help you plan your spending.

Sarah Tew / CNET

3. Review the Child Tax Credit Rules and Calculate Your Amount

Instead of waiting for the IRS to send you a letter, you can make an educated guess about your qualifying status quite easily. We believe the fastest way is to use our child tax credit calculator. Just enter your annual income and the number of children. Don’t worry, the calculator is private and anonymous and will not store or use any of your personal information.

For the most part, the calculator will tell you what you need to know. However, some aberrant qualifications could arise. For example, in some cases it is possible your income will disqualify you.

And while parents of new babies will generally be eligible for the full amount, which may change if you share custody of a child. U.S. citizenship also plays a role, so if one of your children is adopted from another country, you’ll want to make sure you know all of the rules applicable to children.

To find out more, check here if your the state owes you money, how could you get money back for your child care expenses and if you could expect a refund for the unemployment tax relief.

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