Stimulus Update: What to Do if You Haven't Received Your Child Tax Credit Payment Yet

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Do you qualify for the monthly enhanced Child Tax Credit money but haven't received your July payment yet? Here's what you should do next.

Last week, millions of American families were on the receiving end of the first of the monthly Child Tax Credit payments. This money, which was earmarked as part of President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, will put hundreds of dollars into the bank accounts and mailboxes of Americans with dependents each month, and it will continue through the end of the year.

As with the last three stimulus payments, the Child Tax Credit money will be issued to households who qualify -- and it could make a significant difference to households in need. And, as with the stimulus money, the IRS is automatically issuing the payments from the Child Tax Credit to those who qualify.

The IRS has already sent out about 35 million payments worth $15 billion, and almost 9 of 10 payments were directly deposited in recipients' bank accounts. That said, you may not have received your July Child Tax Credit payment yet. If you think you may qualify but haven't yet received your July Child Tax Credit payment, here's what you should do.

1. Check the Child Tax Credit Update Portal

If you haven't received your Child Tax Credit payment, the first thing you should do is check the IRS's Child Tax Credit Update Portal. This tool was recently launched by the IRS to offer information on the enhanced Child Tax Credit payments, including whether or not your payment has been processed.

If your payment has been processed, the portal should give you information on whether it was sent out via direct deposit or by mail. If your check was mailed, you're likely in for a longer wait than you would be otherwise.

This tool will also offer you information on whether or not you are eligible for the monthly payments. The eligibility rules for the enhanced payments aren't as cut and dry as they were with the stimulus payments, so you may not have qualified under the income restrictions.

2. Double check your bank account deposits

You can also check your bank account to see if the money has been deposited for the July Child Tax Credit enhanced payment. Per the White House, the transactions related to the Child Tax Credit will appear in your bank account with the company name IRS TREAS 310.

If you see a deposit with that description, that should clue you in to the fact that you actually have received your Child Tax Credit payment. The description will also help if you're still unsure. It should read CHILDCTC -- and the amount will be for up to $300 per dependent in your household. This differs from the deposit description you'll see for a tax refund, which will show up as TAX REF.

3. Wait it out -- and then file a trace

Remember that if your payment was mailed, it could take a week or more for your payment to arrive, so you should hang tight for a while to see if it shows up. Plus, the IRS could continue to issue the first round of Child Tax Credit payments during the first half of this week, so your payment may not even have been sent out yet.

You can file a trace with the IRS if your July direct deposit payment is still missing after about five days, or if your paper check is still missing several weeks after it was mailed.

Here are the exact timelines for when you can initiate a payment trace with the IRS:

  • 5 days after the expected deposit date
  • 4 weeks after the paper check was mailed to your house
  • 6 weeks after the check was mailed to a forwarding address
  • 9 weeks after the check was mailed to a foreign address

You'll need to complete Form 3911 in order to file a trace with the IRS -- and it could take about six weeks to get the results.

4. Update your mailing or bank account information

If you're worried that your payment was not issued because the IRS has incorrect income information on file, you can log into the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal to update your information. This is especially important if you moved or changed bank accounts. It's also important if you had a significant loss of income or added a new dependent to your household after you last filed your taxes.

You can use the portal to update the number of children who qualify in your house, along with your marital status, any changes to your income, or any other information that may cause an underpayment or no payment at all.

5. Use the IRS non-filer tool to register for payments

If you're a non-filer who isn't required to file your taxes each year, your Child Tax Credit check may be missing because your up-to-date information isn't on file with the IRS. This is especially true if you had a child recently.

In this case, you'll need to use the IRS Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool to register for any upcoming payments you qualify for. You'll need to enter the following into the tool in order to ensure that the IRS has the right information on file:

  • Full name
  • Current mailing address
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Valid Social Security numbers (or other taxpayer IDs) for you and your dependents
  • Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one
  • Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year, if you have one

And, if you want to opt out of the monthly payments for the Child Tax Credit completely, you can use the same IRS update portal to do so. You'll have to opt out for future payments, though, as the deadline has passed for opting out of July's payment.

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