The IRS recently upgraded the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to enable families to update their bank account information so they can receive their monthly Child Tax Credit payment. The tool also allows families to unenroll from the advance payments if they don't want to receive them. The Update Portal is available only on IRS.gov.
Any updates made by August 2 will apply to the August 13 payment and all subsequent monthly payments for the rest of 2021. Families will receive their July 15 payment by direct deposit in the bank account currently on file with the IRS.
People without current bank account information can use the online tool to update their information so they can get the payments sooner by direct deposit. Those who are not enrolled for direct deposit will receive a check.
How to update direct deposit information
First, families should use the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to confirm their eligibility for payments. If eligible, the tool will also indicate whether they are enrolled to receive their payments by direct deposit.
If so, it will list the full bank routing number and the last four digits of their account number. This is the account that will receive their July 15 payment.
If they choose, they can change the bank account receiving the payment starting with the August 13 payment.
If the Update Portal shows a family is eligible to receive payments but not enrolled to receive them by direct deposit, they will receive a mailed check each month. If they want to receive their payments by direct deposit, they can use the Update Portal to add their bank account information. Couples who are married and file jointly must both update their bank account information the same day to the same account to continue getting joint payments.
Any family receiving checks should consider switching to direct deposit to access their money quicker. Direct deposit removes the time, worry and expense of cashing a check, and eliminates the chance of a lost, stolen or undelivered check. People who don't have a bank account can visit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation website for details on opening an account online or use the FDIC's BankFind tool to locate an FDIC-insured bank. BankOn, American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers of America, and the National Credit Union Administration have lists of banks and credit unions that can open an account online.
Families can stop payments anytime
Even after payments begin, families can stop all future monthly payments by using the unenroll feature in the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. Eligible families who make this choice will still receive the rest of their child tax credit as a lump sum when they file their 2021 federal income tax return next year. To stop all payments starting in August and the rest of 2021, they must unenroll by August 2, 2021.
Who should unenroll?
Some families may prefer to receive the entire credit as a refund when they file their 2021 return. The portal's unenroll feature can also be helpful to any family that no longer qualifies for the child tax credit or believes they will not qualify when they file their 2021 return. Married filing joint taxpayers both need to unenroll. If one spouse does not unenroll, they will get half of the joint payment they were supposed to receive with their spouse.
For more information about the unenrollment process, including deadlines, see Topic J of the Child Tax Credit FAQs on IRS.gov.
The IRS will add more features to the Child Tax Credit Update Portal through the summer and fall. Soon people will be able update their mailing address. By fall, people will be able to use the tool to update changes to family status and income. More information is on the Advance Child Tax Credit Payments in 2021 page of IRS.gov.