Here’s how frustrated parents can track down their child tax credit payment

You can verify your payment historical past with the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The subsequent advance child tax credit payment comes Aug. 13, however some parents are nonetheless ready on their July verify. Many households are counting on the additional money this yr, which the IRS is issuing in recurring partial funds. The advance funds may very well be as much as $300 each month for every eligible child, relying on age and family revenue {qualifications}. If you have not received your cash, there may very well be various reasons for the holdup — possibly you moved or the IRS does not have the precise banking data. 

The first step is to ensure your data is present, particularly should you switched banks or if the main points in your older tax returns that the IRS is utilizing would’ve disqualified you in earlier years. The IRS has an online Update Portal that lets you make adjustments to your direct deposit particulars and see when a payment was issued, which might provide you with clues if it’d’ve gotten misplaced. You’ll have to attend till later this summer season to make different adjustments within the portal to your deal with, revenue and variety of dependents. We’ll preserve you posted. 

So what in case your payment was processed however it did not arrive? Should you request an IRS hint? If it is nonetheless pending, might that imply your eligibility hasn’t been confirmed? What in case your tax or family data has modified drastically within the final yr — is {that a} cause to unenroll? We’ll reply these questions and deal with doable causes for delays. We’ll additionally present you how to opt out of the advance monthly checks should you would reasonably get the credit in a single payout subsequent yr as a substitute of upfront this yr. We’ve not too long ago up to date this story. 

Why is my first child tax credit verify delayed?

Even although child tax credit funds are scheduled to reach on sure dates, you might not get the cash when anticipated for a couple of causes. The IRS might not have an up-to-date mailing deal with or banking data to ship your verify. The mailed verify could also be held up by the USPS, or the direct deposit payment should be being processed. 

It’s additionally necessary to notice that should you’re a sufferer of tax-related identification theft, you will not obtain child tax credit funds till the problems have been resolved with the IRS. If the problems aren’t cleared up this yr whereas early funds are disbursed, you may get the complete quantity whenever you file taxes in 2022. And understand that even when you’ve got unpaid state or federal debt, it is best to nonetheless obtain child tax credit funds should you’re eligible. 

Another doable cause your verify could also be delayed is that your 2020 return is nonetheless processing. The IRS is at the moment working by way of a backlog of returns. If your data has modified otherwise you had a child not too long ago, the IRS might not know that they owe you the credit, particularly if the tax company is basing the credit in your 2019 tax return whereas the newest one is processing. 

Can the IRS assist me track child tax credit funds?

If you have not acquired your child tax credit after a couple of days, you can attempt to contact the IRS. (We suggest ready a couple of days previous the payment date to see in case your verify will arrive within the mail.) The IRS has restricted dwell help attributable to a tax return backlog, and can be nonetheless sending out stimulus checks and unemployment tax refunds. You can discover solutions to ceaselessly requested questions, verify eligibility and see when you’ve got a processed payment on the IRS website. Right now, the IRS does not have a separate telephone quantity for child tax credit questions.

How can I verify my child tax credit payment on-line?

You can typically count on recurring month-to-month funds to hit your checking account on the fifteenth of each month apart from August, when it is scheduled on the thirteenth. (See the chart under for extra.) According to the IRS, you can use the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to see your processed month-to-month payment historical past. It’ll be a great way to look at for pending funds that have not gone by way of your checking account but. 

If you continue to have not acquired the cash you are owed, see if the Processed Payments part of the Update Portal has any data. If the payment was delivered, make certain your deal with and banking data are appropriate — particularly should you’ve moved or modified banks.

To verify in your funds on-line, you may must register along with your IRS username and account information. First-time customers might want to have a photograph ID (it is one of many methods the IRS is making an attempt to guard your data from identification theft). We do not know but if the portal will show different payment particulars, reminiscent of banking data, quantity, the verify’s processing date or what may very well be inflicting a delay within the payment. 

If you are checking your checking account, search for the deposit labeled “CHILDCTC.” If your financial institution has not acquired the deposit from the IRS, it will not have any processing data for you should you’re making an attempt to find your verify. If you assume there’s an error, begin by utilizing the Update Portal to double-check the financial institution particulars the IRS has on file, together with your account data and routing numbers. 

Child tax credit payment schedule

Monthly  Maximum payment per child 5 and youthful  Maximum payment per child age 6 to 17
July 15 $300 $250
Aug. 13 $300 $250
Sept. 15 $300 $250
Oct. 15 $300 $250
Nov. 15 $300 $250
Dec. 15 $300 $250
April 2022: Second half of payment  $1,800 $1,500

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How can I request an IRS trace for my payment?

The IRS also offers a payment trace as a way to find your funds, including from missing stimulus checks. You can request a trace — which means filing an inquiry into the location of your IRS money — by mailing or faxing Form 3911 (PDF) to the tax agency. Even if the IRS says you’re ineligible for early payments, it’s best to submit a payment trace in case there’s a portal error. 

Your payment will be traceable if it has been at least five days since the deposit date and the bank hasn’t received the money; or four weeks since the check was mailed; or six weeks if it’s mailed to a forwarded address listed by the post office. If the check was mailed to a foreign address you can ask for a payment trace after nine weeks.

When to request a payment trace

Method of payment Time passed since IRS sent your payment
Direct deposit 5 days
Check mailed to standard address 4 weeks
Check mailed to a forwarded address 6 weeks
Check mailed to a foreign address 9 weeks

How do I update my direct deposit details for future checks? 

Eligible parents that have banking information on file from stimulus checks or tax refunds with the IRS should have received money via direct deposit for the July payment. If the IRS doesn’t have your account information, you can submit it using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal for the August payment, which you have to do before the Aug. 2 opt-out deadline. The IRS recommends using direct deposit to get future payments quicker. 

If you didn’t add your banking information in time for July’s payment, look out for a mailed check to the address that the IRS has on file for you — just like a mailed tax refund. If you need to update your mailing address for your check, you won’t be able to do that through the Update Portal quite yet. The IRS plans to continue expanding the functionality of that portal so you’ll be able to update your address, income and number of kids. 

A commenter in a recent Reddit thread says they were told the IRS is having a few issues with the child tax credit checks, but is working to resolve them. If you’re waiting on your payment and the portal says it’s “Pending,” keep holding on. A check should be coming your way soon via direct deposit or mail. After a week, you can try to contact the IRS, or eventually do a payment trace. 


The next child tax credit will be disbursed on August 13. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

What if my child tax credit payment is less than expected?

If you meet all of the child tax credit requirements but track your monthly payments online and find that you’re receiving less or more money than expected, there are a few steps you can take. Start by checking your eligibility based on your most recent tax return using the IRS Eligibility Assistant

Note that the IRS said that it may use your 2019 tax return to determine your eligibility. Once the IRS processes your 2020 tax return, it will automatically adjust your advance monthly payments by increasing or decreasing how much you get. 

If you didn’t file your taxes, use the Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool to add your information and determine eligibility. It’s unclear if the IRS will make up any differences in remaining payments or if the difference will be included in next year’s tax refund. 

One reason parents may get less money is if they fall out of the income bracket for the maximum amount for monthly payments. Married couples filing jointly earning up to $150,000 and single filers earning up to $75,000 can qualify for the full amount. If you make more, the monthly check is reduced by $50 for every $1,000 over the income bracket. So, if you earn $80,000 as a single filer, you may only be eligible for up to $200 per month — depending on other eligibility factors. 

Should I opt out of advance monthly payments?

The child tax credit requirements are different from previous years. If you received more money than you’re eligible for, you may have to pay the IRS back. That’s why it’ll be important to use the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to inform the IRS of any changes to your household circumstances so adjustments can be made. 

You may choose to opt out of advance monthly child tax credit payments to get one lump sum during tax time next year. It also may be the safest option to avoid repaying the IRS if you’re ineligible for the monthly payments, especially if your income changes this year. You can use the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to opt out of the program anytime. You’ll only need to unenroll once, and you’ll be able to re-enroll in late September if you need to. 

If you or your spouse unenrolled from the child tax credit program but still got the money, it’s possible you didn’t opt out in time. You need to do so at least three days before the first Thursday of the month because it takes up to seven calendar days to process the request. The deadline to opt out of future checks is Monday, Aug. 2. Note that if you file jointly, each parent needs to unenroll. Otherwise, the spouse who doesn’t opt out will receive half of the joint payment. 

Here are the deadlines for unenrolling.

Child tax credit opt-out deadline

Payment date Unenrollment deadline 
July 15 June 28 
Aug. 13 Aug. 2
Sept. 15 Aug. 30 
Oct. 15 Oct. 4 
Nov. 15 Nov. 1
Dec. 15 Nov. 29

The IRS will send a notice (Letter 6419) closer to tax time next year with the adjusted credit amount based on the advance payments already disbursed to you. Hold on to this letter because you’ll need it when you file your 2021 income tax return if you need to return part of your payment. If you received the first child tax credit but are ineligible, it’s best to opt out by the Monday, Aug. 2 deadline.

We’ll continue to update this story with new information about tool updates, the child tax credit program and tracking your payments. Take a look at how joint child custody affects the child tax credit as well.

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