Child tax credit issues? Why parents are facing delays, missing funds, wrong amounts

Some parents are seeing delays with their baby tax credit funds or incorrect amounts. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The second child tax credit payment that went out Friday has hundreds of thousands of eligible US families questioning why they’re getting a paper test, or why their cash hasn’t arrived in any respect. According to the IRS, a variety of households that received their July cost by direct deposit might be receiving their August test by USPS, which may take as much as 4 weeks. Another problem that could possibly be inflicting delays or inaccurate cost amounts for eligible households is outdated banking data or earnings particulars, for the reason that IRS bases this 12 months’s credit on older tax returns. 

Another motive you could possibly be missing a cost is that if your data is outdated, making the IRS assume your loved ones is not eligible. Last month, a number of households with an immigrant partner reported not getting their cost due to an IRS glitch. These mixed-status households needs to be receiving that owed cash alongside their August cost. Also, in accordance with the IRS, another households who missed their July cost could have their whole credit adjusted this month, leading to the next quantity. 

If any of those points impacts your loved ones, we are able to present you how you can repair them utilizing the IRS Update Portal earlier than your September cost. We’ll additionally present you how you can confirm eligibility and unenroll from the month-to-month checks should you’re fearful about owing money to the IRS subsequent 12 months. And heads up: To use the Update Portal you might must create an account. Keep studying should you assume it’s good to file a trace for a missing baby tax credit cost. We’ve not too long ago up to date this story.

Why is the August test coming by mail as an alternative of direct deposit? 

The Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued a statement that resulting from a technical problem, a proportion of households who obtained their July 15 cost by direct deposit will get their Aug. 13 cost by way of paper test within the mail. While this might have an effect on as many as 4 million households this month, it is anticipated to be a one-time problem that might be resolved by the Sept. 15 cost. 

The best strategy to see how you may be receiving your August cash is to go browsing to the IRS Update Portal to view your cost historical past. If it says your cost is coming by mail, give it a number of enterprise days (or extra) to reach. If you’ve direct deposit arrange, be certain all the knowledge is correct. If you have not arrange your banking particulars but by the net portal, it’s best to anticipate all additional funds to come back as paper checks.

If your cost historical past within the portal says that the cash was despatched by direct deposit, test your checking account once more within the subsequent few days to ensure it is cleared. According to the White House web site, transactions will comprise the corporate identify “IRS TREAS 310” with an outline of “CHILDCTC” and an quantity for as much as $300 per child (except there’s been an adjustment resulting from a missing July cost). Don’t get this residue confused with these for stimulus checks, which present up as “TAXEIP3” when deposited. Also, should 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 reach because it might take a number of days.
You cannot discover any motive why you did not get a cost. It could also be time to file a cost hint with the IRS.

Why did not I get cash if my household qualifies? 

Last month, a number of households utilizing an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in “mixed-status” households — with one dad or mum being an immigrant and the place the eligible youngsters have a Social Security quantity — did not obtain their first month-to-month cost resulting from an IRS mishap. According to the tax agency, these households do qualify and needs to be receiving a portion of that July cash along with their August cost, and any extra cash owed might come later within the month.

There are a couple of different the explanation why you won’t have obtained 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 non-filer sign up tool on-line to register for funds. 
  • You lived within the US lower than half the 12 months in 2019 or 2020, and the IRS does not assume you qualify, even should 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 are not capable of 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 earnings was beforehand too excessive or if there was a shift in a custody association. 
  • You already unenrolled from this 12 months’s advance month-to-month funds by the IRS Update Portal. If that is the case, your loved ones will obtain the credit whenever you file your taxes in 2022. If you resolve to re-enroll within the month-to-month cost program, you’ll accomplish that someday in September. 

If you’ve got verified your eligibility and your account says that your funds had been issued however they’re nonetheless missing, you might must file a cost hint with the IRS. To try this, you may want to finish Form 3911 (PDF) and mail or fax it to the IRS. Only do that if it has been at the very least 5 days for the reason that scheduled deposit date, or 4 weeks for the reason that cost was mailed by test. We can clarify how you can file a trace here

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Why did I get a different monthly amount than anticipated?

There are a couple reasons why families are reporting inaccurate payment amounts. The first step is to quickly verify your eligibility through the Eligibility Assistant. The next step is to use 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 actually be underpaid 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, according to the IRS: up to $360 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $300 per month for each child ages 6 through 17. 

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 your 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. 

In the next month or so, the IRS says you should be able to sign on to the Update Portal to make these kinds of adjustments. 

What if the IRS portal says I’m not eligible, but I got a payment?

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 have to pay the IRS any of the child tax credit money back?

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 expanded child tax credit eventually become permanent?

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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