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Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTCUP)


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in March 2021, authorizing monthly advance payments of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for eligible taxpayers. Several IRS organizations collaborated to develop complex programming requirements and a communication strategy to be able to deliver this first-of-its-kind monthly benefit to many Americans. 


To address the ARPA legislation and CTC advance payments starting in July 2021, taxpayers needed an online solution to opt out of advance payments, add/update their bank account information or payment method, and update their Modified Adjusted Gross Income (Modified AGI). To meet these needs, the IRS built a new online application called the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTCUP) and launched it in

record time. The team worked diligently to confirm legislative and functional requirements, develop user flows and wireframes, perform privacy and risk assessments, draft content, and conduct user testing. As part of the IRS; modernization efforts, the IRS accelerated implementation of a new identity verification process in support of CTCUP to allow more citizens to more easily access IRS online services, aligning the launch with the initial release of CTCUP.

During 2021, CTCUP served seven million unique users across 40 million total site visits. More than two million bank account updates, two million un-enrollments, and 500,000 mailing address updates were processed online using CTCUP, contributing to less over- or under-payments and improving accuracy for both electronic and paper check distributions. Providing these services electronically was critical during the pandemic to minimize the burden on IRS call centers and empower taxpayers to proactively manage their monthly benefit payments either by desktop computer or mobile device. 

As a result of IRS efforts, over 216 million monthly payments totaling more than $94 billion were successfully issued to eligible families supporting 60 million children.

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