Parents: It’s time to trace your child tax credit cost. We’ll show you how

The deadline to unenroll from child tax credit funds is Aug. 2. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Still ready for your July 15 child tax credit examine? Whether you’re banking on the additional cash for monetary aid or planning to reserve it for a wet day, it might be time to work out the reason for the holdup. You may also do a cost trace to work out the place your cash is.  The advance child tax credit funds might be up to $300 each month for every eligible child, relying on age and family revenue {qualifications}. 

First, be sure that your banking data and handle are up to date, particularly if you switched banks or moved. You’ll want to use the IRS online Update Portal to make modifications to your direct deposit particulars and examine to see when a cost was despatched, which might give you clues if it would’ve gotten misplaced. But if you want to replace your revenue, handle or variety of dependents, you’ll want to wait till later this 12 months to make these modifications utilizing the portal. We’ll preserve you posted. 

What if your cost remains to be pending? Has your examine been processed, however you nonetheless do not have it? What ought to you do subsequent? What if your tax or family data has modified drastically within the final 12 months? Lots has modified with the child tax credit, however I’ll assist reply your questions, share potential causes for delays and what you can do about all of it. You might have to opt out of the advance monthly checks if you acquired a examine, however are ineligible. Or if you’d quite get the entire quantity subsequent 12 months in a single payout. We’ve not too long ago up to date this story. 

How can I observe my child tax credit examine on-line?

You can typically anticipate 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 cost historical past. It’ll be a great way to look ahead to pending funds that have not gone by means of your checking account but. 

If you nonetheless have not acquired the cash you’re owed, see if the Processed Payments part of the Update Portal has any data. If the cost was delivered, be sure that your handle and banking data are appropriate — particularly if you’ve moved or modified banks.   

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

If you’re 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 if you’re attempting to find your examine. If you suppose 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 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

Why is there a delay with my child tax credit cost?

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

It’s additionally vital to be aware that if you’re a sufferer of tax-related id 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 12 months whereas early funds are disbursed, you’ll get the complete quantity when you file taxes in 2022. And understand that even when you have unpaid state or federal debt, you ought to nonetheless obtain child tax credit funds if you’re eligible. 

Another potential cause your examine could also be delayed is that your 2020 return is nonetheless processing. The IRS is at the moment working by means of a backlog of returns. If your data has modified or 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 on your 2019 tax return whereas the most recent one is processing. 

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Child tax credit: Everything we know


How can I do a payment trace? 

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 can I update my banking information? 

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, but there’s more you need to know (see below) before you call. You can also do a payment trace. 


You’ll have to wait until later this year to update your mailing address using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Can the IRS help with my child tax credit problems?

If you haven’t received your child tax credit after a few days, you can try to contact the IRS. (We recommend waiting a few days past the payment date to see if your check will arrive in the mail.) The IRS has limited live assistance due to a tax return backlog, and is also still sending out stimulus checks and unemployment tax refunds. You can find answers to frequently asked questions, check eligibility and see if you have a processed payment on the IRS website. Right now, the IRS doesn’t have a separate phone number for child tax credit questions. 

What if I got less child tax money than I 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. 

Why should I opt out of advance child tax credit checks? 

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. 

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 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. 

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 before next week’s deadline, Aug. 2. 

How can I unenroll from monthly payments?

You can use the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to opt out of the program anytime. You’ll only need to unenroll once. It’s important to note that you cannot re-enroll until late September. 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

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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