Child tax credit issues? What to do about missing payments and wrong amounts

Some incorrect payments could possibly be due to outdated IRS data. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Though the vast majority of US households have acquired the primary two month-to-month child tax credit payments with no hitch, many eligible families are having a tough begin. For instance, the IRS mentioned tens of millions of households that acquired their July cost by way of direct deposit acquired the August verify by mail, which might take up to 4 weeks to ship. Other households, with an immigrant partner, by no means acquired their July cost due to an IRS glitch, however these mixed-status households ought to’ve acquired their August cost.

Another problem that could possibly be inflicting delays or inaccurate cost amounts for eligible households is outdated banking data or revenue particulars, because the IRS bases this yr’s credit on older tax returns. Out-of-date data might additionally lead to missing payments if the IRS thinks your loved ones does not qualify. Fortunately, some mother and father who by no means acquired cash in July had their credit adjusted, leading to increased month-to-month payments. 

The deadline to make adjustments to your account is Monday, Aug. 30, greater than two weeks earlier than the Sept. 15 cost goes out. If any of those issues proceed to trigger concern, we’ll present you ways to use the IRS Update Portal to strive to repair them. Before you employ the net portal, you will want to create an account. We’ll additionally present you ways to verify your eligibility and unenroll in the event you’re frightened about owing money to the IRS subsequent yr. We’ve not too long ago up to date this story.

Why did some August payments come by mail?

The Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued a statement that due to a technical problem, a share of households who acquired their July 15 cost by direct deposit had been getting their Aug. 13 cost by way of paper verify within the mail. While this might have an effect on as many as 4 million households, it is anticipated to be a one-time problem that shall be resolved by the Sept. 15 cost.

The simplest way to see what’s occurring together with your August verify is to go surfing to the IRS Update Portal to view your cost historical past. If it nonetheless says your cost is coming by mail, give it a number of enterprise days (or extra) to arrive. If you have got direct deposit arrange, ensure that all the data is correct. If you have not arrange your banking particulars but utilizing the net portal, it is best to count on all additional payments to come as paper checks too.

If your cost historical past within the portal says that the cash was despatched by direct deposit, verify your checking account once more within the subsequent few days to ensure that it is cleared. According to the White House web site, transactions will present the corporate title “IRS TREAS 310” with an outline of “CHILDCTC” and an quantity for up to $300 per child (until there’s been an adjustment due to a missing July cost). Don’t get this accretion confused with these for stimulus checks, which present up as “TAXEIP3” when deposited. Also, in the event you’re ready on a tax refund, it’s going to present up as “TAX REF.”

Reasons you did not get a baby tax credit cost

The drawback What to do
You did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return. Use the IRS nonfiler portal.
Your cost is coming within the mail. Give it time to arrive, because it might take a number of days.
You cannot discover any cause why you did not get a cost. It could also be time to file a cost hint with the IRS.

Why have not I acquired any cash if I’m eligible?

In July, a number of households utilizing an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number in mixed-status households — with one father or mother being an immigrant and the place any eligible little one has a Social Security quantity — did not obtain their first month-to-month cost due to an IRS mishap. According to the tax agency, these households do qualify and ought to have acquired a portion of that July cash along with their August cost, and any extra cash owed might come later.

There are a number of different doable the explanation why you won’t have acquired a July or August cost:

  • Your household by no means filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return, so the IRS does not know that you just qualify. If that is the case, use the nonfiler sign-up tool on-line to register for payments.
  • You lived within the US lower than half the yr in 2019 or 2020, and the IRS does not suppose you qualify, even in the event you now have a major residence within the US.
  • Your new child or adopted dependent turned a part of your family after you filed your 2020 tax return, and you have not been in a position to replace these particulars within the IRS portal but.
  • Your family’s circumstances in 2020 disqualified you, although your scenario has now modified in 2021. This could possibly be the case in case your revenue was beforehand too excessive or if there was a shift in a custody association.
  • You already unenrolled from this yr’s advance month-to-month payments utilizing the IRS Update Portal. If that is the case, your loved ones will obtain the credit while you file your taxes in 2022. If you determine to re-enroll within the month-to-month cost program, you will find a way to do so someday in September.

If you’ve got verified your eligibility and your account says that your payments had been issued however they’re nonetheless missing, chances are you’ll want to file a cost hint with the IRS. To do that, you will want to full Form 3911 (PDF) and mail or fax it to the IRS. Only do this if it has been at the least 5 days because the scheduled deposit date, or 4 weeks because the cost was mailed by verify. We clarify how to file a trace here.

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Child tax credit: Everything we know


Why is the amount of my check different from what I expected?

There are a couple of reasons why families are reporting inaccurate payment amounts. First you’ll want to quickly verify your eligibility through the Eligibility Assistant. Then we suggest using CNET’s child tax credit calculator to see how much you should be receiving based on your income and the ages of your dependents.

The primary reason why parents are getting inaccurate payment amounts seems to be because their adjusted gross income or number (or ages) of children has changed between tax seasons, and the IRS hasn’t yet adjusted for the difference. Parents of children younger than six can receive up to $300 per month or $250 for children aged from six to 17, but those amounts phase out for higher earners. So, if your income was significantly higher or you didn’t claim a dependent on your 2020 tax return, you might get less of the credit than you should this year based on the prior figures.

If your family didn’t get a July payment but your first monthly advance check did come in August, your total advance credit will be divided over five months instead of six months. That will result in larger advance monthly payments: up to $360 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $300 per month for each child ages 6 through 17, according to the IRS.

One thing to keep in mind is a potential overpayment if your income went up this year (meaning the IRS is sending you too much money based on outdated info) or if your child is aging out of a payment bracket this year (meaning the IRS is determining amounts for a 5-year-old instead of your 6-year-old). The age brackets for dependents apply to how old your child will be at the end of this calendar year.

The IRS says you should be able to sign in to the Update Portal to make these kinds of adjustments sometime in September.

Why did I get money when the IRS portal says I’m ineligible?

With the IRS sending out millions of child tax credit payments, along with keeping up with income tax refunds and unemployment tax refunds, it’s certainly possible the agency could have made a mistake. For instance, some people who weren’t qualified for the stimulus checks still received payments.

If you’re absolutely positive you’re not eligible for the enhanced child tax credit payments but you got a payment, you’ll need to return that money to the IRS. Start by using the Update Portal to unenroll from future paymentsthe next deadline to opt out of the monthly payments is Aug. 30. This will help prevent you from having to pay back more money when you file taxes in 2022.

Will I need to pay child tax credit money back in 2022?

If you’re eligible for the full amount of child tax credit money, you won’t have to pay it back. Child tax credit payments do not count as income. However, if you no longer qualify for the full amount because of a change in your income or number of dependents but you receive the full amount anyway, you may need to pay back that extra money.

The IRS is using what it calls “repayment protection” so if you do receive an overpayment but fall below a set income level, you don’t have to pay the money back. Above that income level, you will have to pay back some or all of the extra money. Here’s more on taxes and how the payment protection works.


The next child tax credit check will be disbursed on Sept. 15. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Will the enhanced child tax credit be extended?

As of right now, the increased payments are temporary, just for this tax 2021 year. That means after you get your final payment with your tax refund in 2022, the child tax credit will revert back to its original amount from previous years, which was lower. However, it’s possible Washington could extend the payments in 2025 — or make the changes permanent. While no decision has been made yet, we’ll keep you posted on the outcome.

For more information, here’s how to opt out of future child tax credit payments. Also, here’s how to track down your child tax credit payment if you didn’t receive it. Not sure you got the right amount? Use CNET’s child tax credit calculator to see how much you should get.

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