Child tax credit: IRS launches 2 online tools to answer eligibility questions

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on Monday it has launched two new online tools designed to help people manage their monthly child tax credit payments. The payments were created under the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan. 

The two tools include an eligibility questionnaire to help families quickly determine whether or not they qualify for the advance monthly payments under the child tax credit and a portal that allows families to verify their eligibility and gives them the option to receive the payment in a lump sum or monthly installments, according to an IRS news release. 

"This secure, password-protected tool is available to any eligible family with internet access and a smart phone or computer," the IRS said. 

The tools will eventually allow people to view payment history and adjust banking or mailing information. The tools will also offer a Spanish option in the coming months. 

IRS building

FILE - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building stands on April 15, 2019 in Washington, DC.

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"IRS employees continue to work hard to help people receive this important credit," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said. "The Update Portal is a key piece among the three new tools now available on to help families understand, register for and monitor these payments. We will be working across the nation with partner groups to share information and help eligible people receive the advance payments." 

The child tax credit is a monthly payment plan from the government for eligible families who could receive as much as $3,600 for each child under the age of six. The tax credit will be $3,000 annually per child between the ages of six and 17. 

The program is slated to expire after one year, though President Joe Biden has proposed extending it through 2025 with the ultimate goal of making it permanent. 

The Treasury Department said in May that 39 million families are set to receive the monthly child payments beginning on July 15. 

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Nearly 88% of children are set to receive the benefits without their parents needing to take any additional action. 

The credit starts to diminish for individual parents earning more than $75,000 and couples making $150,000. 

The benefit is aimed at providing support to millions of families affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with parents forced to cut down on work or give up their jobs entirely to take care of children after losing access to child care. 

"This tax cut sends a clear and powerful message to American workers, working families with children: Help is here," Biden said in his remarks at the White House last month. 

The Associated Press and Austin Williams contributed to this report.