Hey, Where's My Missing Child Tax Credit?

Hey, Where’s My Missing Child Tax Credit?


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If you’re wondering where your child tax credit payment is for August or July, you’re not alone. Some families are still waiting to receive the monthly checks worth up to $300 per child, although the good news is that for most people, these delays are temporary. Here’s a look at what’s going on.

Where are your child tax credit payments?

The checks are part of a boosted child tax credit totaling up to $3,600 per child, with half of that amount being sent in advance, on the 15th of the month until the end of the year (for more on how the payments work, and how to qualify, check out this Lifehacker post). Problem is, some families haven’t seen their payments yet, due to the following reasons:

  • Normal delays in the mail: If you receive your payment as a mailed check, it’s possible that it will be delayed for up to four weeks, even for a standard address. If you use mail forwarding or have a foreign address, that can take even longer, up to nine weeks.
  • Your August payment was sent by check, even if you were expecting a direct deposit: A glitch affecting the payments for 5.4 million families means they’ll receive their payment by mail, even if they already received their first check via direct deposit. If this is case for you, you might be dealing with typical snail mail delays. The IRS says the glitch is temporary, and that direct deposits should resume in September.
  • Your July payment was missed, so that sum is being added to your remaining payments: The IRS says that some families who did not get a July payment will still receive their total advance payment for the year. This means that the total payment will be spread over five months instead of six, making each monthly payment larger. For these families, each payment will be bumped up to $360 per month for each child under 6 years old, and up to $300 per month for each child ages 6 through 17.
  • You either don’t qualify for the benefit, or the checks are simply missing: If you haven’t received either your July or August payments yet, use the IRS eligibility assistant tool to double-check whether you qualify for the benefit. Per CNET, if you’ve added a child to your family in 2021, the IRS may not be accounting for them because they’re operating off information from your 2020 tax return (you can update that in their child tax credit portal). Lastly, it’s also possible that your checks have simply gone missing.

How to confirm your child tax benefit status

To check the status of your payment in the child tax credit portal, go to the “Processed Payments” section. If you’re waiting on your payment and the portal says it’s “Pending,” that means the check should be coming soon. If the status indicates a payment was delivered, but you haven’t received it, make sure your address and banking information are correct.

If you see a processed payment in the portal and you don’t receive it, you can try something called a payment trace, which is a request to find out what happened to your money. A trace can take up to six weeks to process, so you’ll only want to use this option after enough time has passed, as follows:

  • Direct deposit: five days
  • Mailed check to a standard address: four weeks
  • Mailed check to a forwarded address: six weeks
  • Mailed check to a foreign address: nine weeks

If none of this works, the worst case scenario is that you’ll have to claim the full credit later as part of your 2021 tax return. For more information on the child tax benefit, check out this IRS FAQ.



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