The second round of advance child tax credit payments hit millions of bank accounts on Friday. But what should you do if you didn’t get your money?
Or what can you do if you’ve been waiting more than a month and didn’t even get the first payment for July?
It’s tricky because, well, so much depends on a wide range of quite specific, individual factors. Many times, there are not one-size-fits all answers.
And you’re not going to be able to get a quick response by calling the Internal Revenue Service, which has notorious delays on its phone lines at 800-829-1040. Keep in mind that the IRS also is still dealing with a backlog of tax refunds for 2020 returns, an adjustment that applies to early filers who were unemployed in 2020 and other issues, as well as the child tax credit.
Many people aren’t sure where to turn. So, here’s a look at possible options and things to know about the advance child tax credit payments:
How do I trace a missing child tax credit?
The IRS has a timeline for when you can even begin to track missing payments.
If you’re still waiting since July 15 for a payment, you might be able to put a trace on it now.
You do have to wait a bit if you’re anxious about an August payment, which just began rolling out by direct deposit on Aug. 13.
For example, the IRS says you cannot trace the money until you’ve waited:
— Five days since the deposit date and the bank says it hasn’t received the payment.
— Four weeks since the payment was mailed by check to a standard address
— Six weeks since the payment was mailed, and you have a forwarding address on file with the local post office
— Nine weeks since the payment was mailed, and you have a foreign address
To start a payment trace, mail or fax a completed two-page Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund.
Is the IRS sending out some July payments now?
Yes, so you might want to read up on this one before trying to track missing money.
The IRS noted on Aug. 13 that some families could be getting their first advance payments in August, if they did not get a July payment.
The IRS is correcting an earlier problem that involved a specific group of families where the parent or parents have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and the qualifying children have a Social Security number.
“Such families who did not receive a July payment are receiving a monthly payment in August, which also includes a portion of the July payment. They will receive the remainder of the July payment in late August,” according to an IRS alert.
What happens if you just started receiving payments in August?
You’re now looking at spreading those advance payments over five months, instead of six months. So the monthly payments would be somewhat bigger.
The IRS notes: “For these families, each payment is up to $360 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $300 per month for each child ages 6 through 17.”
Who is getting the child tax credit now?
Many families don’t need to do anything to get this money. The IRS is basing monthly payments on the most recently processed tax return, either the 2019 federal return or the 2020 return.
The IRS said that the August payments reflect information on tax returns that had been processed by Aug. 2, including people who don’t typically file a return but during 2020 successfully registered for Economic Impact Payments using the IRS Non-Filers tool on IRS.gov.
This group also includes those who this year successfully used the Non-filer Sign-up Tool for advance child tax credit at IRS.gov.
An effort is ongoing to get those who typically aren’t required to file a tax return, based on a low income, to sign up to receive the advance credit money.
Is the IRS mailing out a bigger batch of August payments?
Yes. Roughly 4 million people or more who received direct deposits of their advance child tax credit in July now will be stuck waiting a bit longer to receive the August payments by mail.
Remember, you could have to wait until the end of August — or roughly two weeks — to allow enough time for delivery by mail of payments being sent by paper check.
The IRS and U.S. Treasury did not detail the so-called glitch that created this issue in August. But the IRS said the issue is “expected to be resolved by the September payments.”
The IRS said no additional action is needed for the September payment to be issued by direct deposit for this group. Best bet: The IRS recommends that families visit the Child Tax Credit Update Portal at IRS.gov to see if they’re receiving a direct deposit or paper check this month.
How do you make changes?
You’d have until 8:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time Aug. 30 to make possible changes if you want those changes to be reflected in the next payment, which will be issued Sept. 15.
The advance payments, which currently apply to this year only, were scheduled for July 15, Aug. 13, Sept. 15, Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec. 15.
As of mid-August, the IRS portal tool could help you figure out if you’re enrolled to receive payments, put a stop to receiving any more advance monthly payments in 2021, and provide or update your bank account information for monthly payments.
In the near future, the IRS portal is expected to allow families to make changes to their address. Further down the road, the portal is expected to allow other changes, such as adding the birth or adoption of a child, making changes to your marital status and income and the ability to re-enroll for those monthly payments if you opted out.