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IRS adds address change capability to Child Tax Credit portal

The Internal Revenue Service added a new feature Friday to its online portal for the Child Tax Credit allowing parents to update the mailing address where they should receive the monthly payments.

The new feature will enable any family that opts to receive their payment through a paper check to avoid mailing delays or have a check returned as undeliverable. To ensure the change in address takes effect in time for the September advance payment on the Child Tax Credit, the IRS is advising parents to submit any changes before midnight Eastern Time on Monday, Aug. 30. Any changes made before that time will apply to the Sept. 15 payment and all subsequent monthly payments, scheduled for Oct. 15, Nov. 15, and Dec. 15.

The expanded Child Tax Credit was included as part of the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan Act in March in hopes of cutting in half the rate of child poverty in the U.S. Families can receive up to $3,000 or $3,600 per child, depending on their age. Eligible families can receive advance payments of the tax credit, either by direct deposit or check. Each payment will be up to $300 per month for each child under the age of six and up to $250 per month for each child ages six through 17.

In most cases, the IRS is relying on prior tax returns and sending out automatic payments, but for those families who don’t normally file taxes or need to update their information, the IRS set up an online portal in June as a way to help families register the information (see story). It has been adding new features, including the ability to opt out of the payments for those families who worry that they could end up owing money if the IRS sent too much.

The portal already allows families to verify their eligibility for the payments and then, if they choose to, they can switch from receiving a paper check to direct deposit; change the account where their payment is directly deposited; or end monthly payments for the rest of 2021. Future improvements are planned for the portal, according to the IRS. Later this year, families will also be able to use the Update Portal tool to add or remove children in most situations; report a change in marital status; to report a significant change in income.

If a parent changes their mailing address using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, the IRS will use the updated address for all future IRS correspondence so the address change feature can also be helpful to taxpayers that are receiving payments by direct deposit. For example, the IRS will mail a year-end summary statement (Letter 6419) to all taxpayers who have received advance Child Tax Credit payments this year, and having a current address on file with the IRS will ensure prompt delivery of this statement.

Families will need to have Letter 6419 to fill out their 2021 federal income tax return next year. For most families, the advance payments they are getting this year cover only half of the total credit. They will claim the remaining portion on their 2021 tax return.

The IRS has created a special Advance Child Tax Credit 2021 page to provide up-to-date information about the credit and the advance payments.

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