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New IRS Letter: Tax Audit or Child Tax Credit Confirmation? What to know, why keep an eye on the mail


Are you eligible for the child discount? Look out for a letter from the tax authorities.

Angela Lang/CNET

If you qualify for the child tax credit payments from next month, you can find out in the mail. The IRS is now sending letters to 36 million families who may… qualify for the payments from maximum $3,600 per child. As many as 92% of families with children — that’s 65.6 million children — could be eligible for the payments as of July. Although the IRS processes tax returns (here is: how to track yours), don’t worry if you receive a letter, such as a coworker who first wondered if the envelope was linked to tax checks (it wasn’t).

The payments are part of the American rescue plan that increases the 2021 tax credit from $2,000 per child to $3,600, depending on the age of your children. The March law also allows parents to claim the money in periodic payments starting July 15, rather than waiting to claim the credit next year.

So what’s the problem with this IRS letter? While you may be tempted to recycle it, it’s a smart idea to save it instead. We’ll explain why, what this letter will and won’t tell you, and why you may receive a second letter from the IRS regarding your child tax credit checks. We also explain what it can mean if you do not receive a letter at all. For more, here’s how you can unsubscribe from monthly prepayments and ideas for how to spend your child’s tax credit.

First Child Tax Credit Letter from the IRS

If you receive a letter from the IRS about the child discount, it’s because the IRS is alerting you to the possibility that you may be eligible for the child discount starting next month.

The letter is not a guarantee that you will receive payment. It only informs you that based on information the IRS has for you – from your 2019 or 2020 federal income tax return or if you used the Non-Filers tool to file a stimulus payment — the IRS wants you to know you might qualify. (You can also check here if you qualify and use our calculator to see how much you could receive each month?.)

As with all IRS correspondence, you will want to keep this letter for your records.


A real copy of the letter from the IRS.

What Could a Second Child Rebate From the IRS Include?

If the IRS determines that you and your family meet the child tax credit payment requirements, you will receive a second letter with an estimate of the amount to expect as of July 15. Half of the payments will go out monthly from July through December of this year, and the remaining money will come when you file your taxes in 2022. (This is what you want to know about child tax credit payment schedule.)

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Child discount: everything we know


What if I don’t get a letter from the IRS about the payments?

The IRS said it is sending letters to 36 million families. But it also said up to 39 million households could qualify for the credit. So maybe several million families don’t hear a letter from the IRS that they could get a check starting next month.

If the IRS doesn’t have enough information on hand to determine whether you and your family qualify, for example, you may not get a letter. This can be the case if you don’t normally have to file taxes – someone who gives the IRS a “non-filerIf this is your situation, you may need to let the IRS know your eligibility using an online portal the tax office will open at the end of this month.

It is also possible that the IRS does not have your current mailing address and has sent your letter to a different location. Here’s how to make sure the IRS and the US Postal Service have it: your current mailing address.

For more information about the child discount, use the following the two online IRS portals launch by early July, what happens if you have? a baby this year and which children and dependents are eligible for the credit.

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