When Do We Get the Child Tax Credit? 2021 Payment Schedule in Full

Millions of Americans have begun receiving their advance Child Tax Credit payments, the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.

The payments will be made by the IRS every month either by direct deposit or as a check sent by mail. The payments are automatically issued to those eligible, so families expecting payment do not need to take any further action, the federal body said.

The federal tax credit is being issued as part of President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan. The president said advance Child Tax Credit payments allow "half of the tax cut to be paid to families in advance through a monthly check or direct deposit," in a statement on June 21.

The IRS said the first batch of advance payments worth a total of about $15 billion reached around 35 million families on Thursday, 86 percent of which were issued by direct deposit.

How Much Child Tax Credit Will I Get?

Those eligible will receive up to $300 a month for each child under 6-years-old and up to $250 a month for every child aged from six through 17.

The IRS said: "Normally, anyone who receives a payment this month will also receive a payment each month for the rest of 2021 unless they unenroll."

Child Tax Credit Payment Schedule for 2021

Below is the full Child Tax Credit payment schedule for the rest of this year, as outlined by the IRS.

  • August 13
  • September 15
  • October 15
  • November 15
  • December 15

The Child Tax Credit payments are being sent out to eligible families who have filed either a 2019 or 2020 tax return.

The IRS said: "Tax returns processed by June 28 are reflected in these payments." This includes those who don't normally file taxes but either registered their details in 2020 using the IRS "Non-Filers tool" to receive stimulus payments or this year using the "Non-filer Sign-up Tool" for advance Child Tax Credit on the IRS website.

"For those receiving payment by paper check, they should remember to take into consideration the time it takes to receive it by mail," the IRS advised.

Who Should Opt Out of Advance Child Tax Credit?

Those who expect the amount of tax they owe will be greater than their expected refund when filing their 2021 tax return may want to opt out of advance Child Tax Credit payments, the IRS said.

The federal body explained: "The payments you receive are an advance of the Child Tax Credit that you would normally get when you file your 2021 tax return. Because these credits are paid in advance, every dollar you receive will reduce the amount of Child Tax Credit you will claim on your 2021 tax return.

"This means that by accepting advance child tax credit payments, the amount of your refund may be reduced or the amount of tax you owe may increase," the IRS said.

The federal body advised Americans may avoid owing tax to the IRS if they opt out of advance payments and instead claim the entire Child Tax Credit when they file their 2021 tax return.

Deadlines for Opting Out of Advance Child Tax Credit

To opt out of receiving the advance payments, "you must unenroll 3 days before the first Thursday of next month by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. You do not need to unenroll each month," the IRS said.

Below are the deadlines each month for opting out of advance payments, as outlined by the IRS.

  • For opting out in August: August 2
  • For opting out in September: August 30
  • For opting out in October: October 4
  • For opting out in November: November 1
  • For opting out in December: November 29

See the IRS website for more information about advance Child Tax Credit payments.

The IRS building pictured in March 2016.
A man walking into the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington, D.C. in March 2016. The IRS began issuing advance Child Tax Credit payments to eligible families this week. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images