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Yes, non-tax-filer parents can receive next month's child tax credit payment

Even if you didn't file a 2019 or 2020 income tax return, you could still qualify for the new child tax credit for up to $3,600 per kid.

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Even families that don't normally file taxes could be eligible for the advance child tax credit payments this year. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Are you usually exempt from filing a tax return each year? If so, the IRS opened a nonfilers tool on Monday to help eligible families register for the monthly child tax credit payments. The online portal is for people who weren't required to file a tax return in 2019 or 2020 because they didn't make enough money, but they qualify for the child tax credit payments that start July 15.

The new child tax credit nonfilers portal is an update to the IRS online tool that helps nonfilers register to receive their stimulus checks. The revised tool will let you update the IRS with information it needs  -- such as your name, address and Social Security numbers -- to determine your child tax credit payment amount.

The total that eligible families with qualifying children will receive for the expanded child tax credit depends on income, as well as the ages and number of dependents (we recommend calculating your total here). We can explain the online tools, including how you can use the upcoming IRS portals to opt out of the advance monthly payments. This story was recently updated with new information. 

Use the new sign-up tool to update your personal information 

On June 14, the IRS launched a new online tool to help families that don't normally file income tax return to enroll in this year's child tax credit program. The free "Non-filer Sign-up tool" is designed to allow low-income families, as well as those experiencing homelessness, to register with their name, address and Social Security numbers. Individuals will be able to notify the IRS about any of their qualifying dependents and can provide their bank information for direct deposit of the payments once they start. 

The tool isn't for families who already filed -- or plan to file -- their 2019 or 2020 income tax return. The IRS will use those tax returns to determine eligibility and disburse the coming payments to qualifying families.

Two other IRS tools help you determine eligibility and check status

In addition to the nonfilers portal, the IRS will release a second portal to help families who already had their 2019 or 2020 tax return processed but who need to inform the IRS of any life changes, such as an income change. It will also let families defer the monthly payments altogether if they'd rather receive one large payment next year.

A third online tool will help you determine your eligibility.

Now playing: Watch this: Child tax credit: Everything we know

Review your information on the IRS payment portal

If you received a stimulus payment and you're a nonfiler, your information should be on file with the IRS already. So while you wait for the IRS portals to open, you can check to see if your information is updated on the stimulus payment portal, called Get My Payment

The IRS website also allows you to set up an account if you haven't already, which is useful for reviewing your tax transcript and other details. If you notice some information is off -- maybe you got married or gained a new dependent -- you'll need to make sure the IRS has that information by using the child tax portals when they open.


The tax deadline has passed, but you can still file your taxes.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Or... file your 2020 taxes now

The IRS is urging people with children to submit their taxes as soon as possible to make sure they get the right amount of child tax credit money. Even though the tax deadline was May 17, nonfilers shouldn't face penalties since they don't owe taxes. But do note the IRS typically doesn't accept direct deposit information if the filer doesn't have a refund coming when submitting a tax return. 

While the IRS encourages families to file their 2020 tax return, the new nonfiler tool should allow many to get their information registered in the system, including direct deposit details. 

For more information about the child tax credit, here's what you should know about the upcoming IRS letters