Not sure where your child tax credit check is? Track it online using this tool

The subsequent deadline to choose out of advance child tax credit checks is Aug. 30. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The IRS Update Portal is the important thing to child tax credit payments and data. You can choose out, replace your family particulars and add your banking data forward of September’s check. But it’s additionally the golden ticket to your cost historical past. In truth, the Update Portal could be the clue to discovering out where your check is that if it’s nonetheless delayed. 

A couple of glitches from the IRS might imply that some dad and mom have to attend a bit longer for his or her cash. And some checks are delayed due to a problem with the IRS sending your household a paper check in August as a substitute of direct deposit, which takes significantly extra time to reach. That’s the case for some 4 million households, in response to the tax agency’s most recent statement. The excellent news is that should you did not obtain final month’s check, you’ll be able to count on to get half of your whole quantity in 5 funds, as a substitute of six. 

If you are still ready for your cash otherwise you’re curious of how a lot you’ve got acquired up to now, you need to use the online Update Portal so as to add up the full up to now. Or it’s possible you’ll select to opt out of the advance monthly checks. We’ll present you the way and clarify what unenrolling means for tax season. We’ve up to date this story just lately. 

How can I check the standing of my delayed child tax credit check online? 

You can usually count on recurring month-to-month funds to hit your checking account on the fifteenth of each month aside from this month’s (it was scheduled for the thirteenth). (See the chart under for extra.) According to the IRS, you need to use the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to see your processed month-to-month cost historical past. It’ll be a great way to observe for pending funds that have not gone by 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 cost was delivered, make sure your tackle and banking data are right — particularly should you’ve moved or modified banks.

To check on your funds online, you will have to register with your IRS username and account information. First-time customers might want to have a photograph ID (it’s one of many methods the IRS is attempting to guard your data from identification theft). We do not know but if the portal will show different cost particulars, resembling banking data, quantity, the check’s processing date or what might be inflicting a delay within the cost. 

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 attempting to find your check. If you assume there’s an error, begin by using 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 cost schedule

Monthly  Maximum cost per child 5 and youthful  Maximum cost 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 cost  $1,800 $1,500

What ought to I do if I’m nonetheless ready for child tax credit cash? 

Child tax credit funds began in mid-July and the second was issued on Aug. 13, however some dad and mom are nonetheless ready. Even although child tax credit funds are scheduled to reach on sure dates, it’s possible you’ll not get the cash when anticipated for a number of causes. The IRS might not have an up-to-date mailing tackle or banking data to ship your check. The mailed check could also be held up by the US Postal Service or the direct deposit cost should still be being processed. 

It’s additionally vital to notice that should you’re a sufferer of tax-related identification theft, you will not obtain child tax credit funds till these points have been resolved with the IRS. If the problems aren’t cleared up this yr whereas early funds are disbursed, you will get the total quantity once you file taxes in 2022. And take into account that even in case you have unpaid state or federal debt, you need to nonetheless obtain child tax credit funds should you’re eligible. 

Problems with lacking funds have additionally been reported among “mixed-status” families, where one mum or dad is a US citizen and the opposite is an immigrant. It seems to have been an IRS glitch that the tax company has corrected for the August cost. Parents who file their taxes and whose kids have Social Security numbers qualify for the funds so long as they meet all the opposite earnings and age necessities.

Another potential purpose your check could also be delayed is that your 2020 return is nonetheless processing. The IRS is at the moment working by a backlog of returns. If your data has modified otherwise you had a child just lately, the IRS might not know that they owe you the credit, particularly if the tax company is basing the credit on your 2019 tax return whereas the newest one is processing. 

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Child tax credit: Everything we know


How can I file a payment trace for my missing child tax credit 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 advance 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, four weeks since the check was mailed or six weeks if it was mailed to a forwarded address listed by USPS. 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

At a first glance, the steps to request a payment trace can look daunting. You’ll need to print and mail the completed Form 3911 from the IRS (PDF) to start tracing your child tax credit payment. If you need help completing the form, reach out to your local tax consultant. Before you do, there are a few pointers to keep in mind. 

  • An IRS representative told CNET that there’s not an abbreviation or code to include in the “Inquiry” field. You’ll need to be as specific as possible about what payment you’d like to track. Make sure you specify that you’re looking to trace a child tax credit check and the month the payment was disbursed. 
  • If you filed taxes jointly, both parents will need to sign the form to start the payment trace process. 
  • Be sure to check whether or not your money was sent via direct deposit or check. If your banking information is listed on the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, we recommend choosing the direct deposit box. 
  • You’ll need to mail the form where you would usually send a paper tax return in your area. The IRS has a list of addresses and fax numbers to help. 
  • You should not request a payment trace to determine your eligibility or to confirm your child tax credit amount. 
  • It could take up to 60 days to receive a response.

What if my monthly child tax credit check is less than expected?

Your first child tax credit check may have been less or more than you expected last month. If you meet all of the child tax credit requirements 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 could be using 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. 

If you didn’t get your July check, you may still get the first monthly payment this month and still get their total advance payment for the year. Parents with delayed payments can expect their payments to be spread out over five months, instead of six.

How can I update my banking info for the September check? 

The IRS recommends using direct deposit to get future payments quicker. Eligible parents that have banking information on file from stimulus checks or tax refunds with the IRS should have received money via direct deposit. But if the IRS doesn’t have your account information, you can submit it using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal for the September payment, which you have to do by Monday, Aug. 30 before midnight ET. Any changes after this date won’t take place until the October advance check.  

If you don’t add your banking information in time, look out for a mailed check to the address that the IRS has on file for you — just like a mailed tax refund. And the good news is that you can now use the Update Portal to update your mailing address. The IRS plans to continue expanding the functionality of that portal so you’ll be able to update your income and number of kids in the near future. 

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.


Some parents haven’t received the August child tax credit check yet. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

How can I opt out of advance payments to avoid repaying?

The child tax credit requirements are different from previous years. If you ultimately receive 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 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 in 2022. 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 reenroll 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 next opt-out deadline is Aug. 30. Note that if you file taxes 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 in 2022 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 and second child tax credit payments but are ineligible, it’s best to opt out before September’s payment. 

Can I call the IRS for child tax credit questions I have?

You may have questions about your child tax credit eligibility, missing check or changes to your information. The first thought is to contact the IRS, but there’s limited live assistance due to a tax return backlog, delayed stimulus checks and unemployment tax refunds. On top of all of the delays, the IRS doesn’t have a separate phone number for child tax credit questions. Instead of calling, it may be faster to check the IRS website for answers to your questions. And remember that the Update Portal can help with eligibility, payment history and updating your personal information online. 

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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