Taxpayers who aren’t required to file a federal income tax return don’t need to file to get advance payments of the Child Tax Credit. They will, however, have to register with the IRS if they haven’t filed a return lately.
Registering through the IRS Non-Filer Sign-up Tool is an easy way for these taxpayers to provide the information the IRS needs to calculate and send out the advance CTC payments. The information, such as name, address and Social Security numbers, provides the IRS with the basic data to get the monthly credit payments set up.
The targeted taxpayers and families have little or no income, and include the homeless. Generally, they just don’t have enough income to file a return. And that’s where the IRS’ tool comes in.
The Non-Filer Sign-up Tool is for people who didn’t file a tax return for either 2019 or 2020 and have not used the tool previously to claim Economic Impact Payments (EIPs). The free tool provides individuals with a way to relay to the IRS the required information on themselves, their children and other dependents as well as their direct deposit information so the advance credit payments can go straight into their bank account.
Eligible families who already filed a 2019 or 2020 return—or expect to file one—should not use the Non-Filer Sign-up Tool. Once their return is processed, the IRS will automatically check their eligibility and calculate the credit. The advance payments will then be issued.
Those who want to claim other tax benefits, such as the earned income tax credit, also should not use the Non-Filer Sign-up Tool. They should instead simply file a regular tax return.
The Advance Child Tax Credit
The American Rescue Plan Act, which became law in March of this year, made the CTC possible in its present form. The legislation expanded the credit and made it payable in advance installments.
The Child Tax Credit is normally calculated using the taxpayer’s 2020 return. If the 2020 tax return hasn’t been filed or is still being processed, the 2019 return is used to calculate the initial payment. In lieu of a 2019 return, the information that available in 2020 and entered with the Non-Filer Tool can be used.
Advance payments will be up to $300 per month per child under age 6, and up to $250 per month per child aged 6 - 17.
If banking information has been provided by the taxpayer, the IRS will send the advance payments by direct deposit. Otherwise, the advance payments will be via paper check in the mail. Payment dates are: July 15, August 13, September 15, October 15, November 15, and December 15.
For more information and other helpful resources, see Advance Child Tax Credit Payments in 2012 on IRS.gov, and FAQs on the 2021 Child Tax Credit and Advance Child Tax Credit Payments.