Child tax credit points? What to do about delays, missing payments and wrong amounts

Some incorrect payments may very well be due to outdated IRS info. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Two child tax credit payments have now gone out, however some eligible families did not get the correct amount, whereas others have not obtained any cash but. Also, in accordance to the IRS, some households that received their July fee by way of direct deposit can be receiving their second verify by USPS, which implies it may very well be delayed up to 4 weeks. Another challenge is mother and father’ outdated banking info or earnings particulars, for the reason that IRS bases this 12 months’s credit on older tax returns. 

It is also the case that the IRS would not know your loved ones is eligible. Last month, a number of households with an immigrant partner reported not getting their fee due to an IRS glitch. These “mixed-status” households ought to have obtained that owed cash with their August fee. Some households who missed their July fee could have their whole credit adjusted this month, leading to a better quantity for every verify by the tip of the 12 months. 

If any of those issues apply to your loved ones, we are able to present you ways to repair them utilizing the IRS Update Portal earlier than the Sept. 15 fee goes out. We’ll additionally clarify how to confirm eligibility and unenroll from the month-to-month checks in the event you’re nervous about owing money to the IRS subsequent 12 months. And heads up: To use the Update Portal chances are you’ll want to create an account. Keep studying in the event you assume you want to file a trace for a missing little one tax credit fee. We’ve just lately up to date this story.

Why is my August verify coming by mail somewhat than direct deposit?

The Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued a statement that due to a technical challenge, a share of households who obtained their July 15 fee by direct deposit will get their Aug. 13 fee by way of paper verify 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 challenge that can be resolved by the point of the Sept. 15 fee. 

The easiest method to see how you may be receiving your August cash is to go surfing to the IRS Update Portal to view your fee historical past. If it says your fee is coming by mail, give it a number of enterprise days (or extra) to arrive. If you have got direct deposit arrange, be certain that all the knowledge is correct. If you have not arrange your banking particulars but utilizing the web portal, it’s best to anticipate all additional payments to come as paper checks too.

If your fee 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 be certain 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 fee). Don’t get this residue 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 will present up as “TAX REF.”

Reasons you did not get a baby tax credit fee

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

Why have not I obtained any cash if my household is eligible? 

Last month, 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 fee due to an IRS mishap. According to the tax agency, these households do qualify and must be receiving a portion of that July cash along with their August fee, and any further cash owed might come later within the month.

There are a couple of different attainable the reason why you may not have obtained a July or August fee: 

  • Your household by no means filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return, so the IRS would not know that you simply 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 12 months in 2019 or 2020, and the IRS would not assume you qualify, even in the event you now have a main 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, despite the fact that your scenario has now modified in 2021. This may very well 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 payments utilizing 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 determine to re-enroll within the month-to-month fee program, you may have the ability to do so someday in September. 

If you have 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 fee hint with the IRS. To do that, you may 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 for the reason that scheduled deposit date, or 4 weeks for the reason that fee was mailed by verify. We clarify how to file a trace here

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Why did I get a different amount than I estimated?

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. 

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

What if I got a check, but the IRS portal shows I don’t qualify?

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 eventually have to pay 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 enhanced child tax credit ever 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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