tax breaks — October 07, 2021

Tired of Waiting on Child Tax Credit Payments? Do This

by Susannah Hornback


Tired of Waiting on Child Tax Credit Payments? Do This

If you qualify for advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments, not getting yours on time could be anywhere from a major inconvenience to a serious situation.

So, what is holding up your money? And how can you prevent this from happening for the rest of the year?

Opt for direct deposit over mailed checks

Seem simple? Well, true—it is simple. While several factors could delay Child Tax Credit payments, missing or outdated information is one of the main offenders.

The IRS has a handy portal to help you provide direct deposit information (or update it, if necessary). You may have assumed that you’re opted-in for direct deposit payments, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check. Head over to the IRS portal to be sure.

I’m opted in for direct deposit, so why did I only get part of my payment?

Are you married? Make sure your spouse opts for direct deposit, too. The IRS doesn’t automatically assume that both you and your spouse want direct deposit over the default mailed check. If one of you opts for direct deposit, only half your credit will be available directly. The other half will be mailed.

Not married? If you received less of a payment than you expected, it might have been garnished for other outstanding payments owed, like unpaid taxes.

Is there any way to get my advance CTC payment via direct deposit if I don’t have a bank account?

In order to get a direct deposit, you have to have a bank account—however, you can set up a low-cost or no-cost bank account with many financial institutions. It’s a great option for Individuals experiencing difficulties such as homelessness.

Check out the banks and institutions below for details on how to open an account online, and then you can update your info with the Child Tax Credit portal to start getting direct deposits.

Do mailed checks always come later than direct deposit for the Child Tax Credit?

Usually—the date you get your payment depends mostly on your method of delivery.

The IRS encourages people without current bank account information to use the tool to update their information so they can get the payments sooner, so direct deposits are the best way to get your payments quickly.

How soon should I update my information?

It takes time to process your information updates, so typically the information needs to be updated by the end of the month before you get the payment.
The remaining two payments you can update your information for are:

  • November—Update your info by November 1 for the November 15 payment
  • December—Update your info by November 29 for the December 15 payment

What happens if I don’t get my CTC payments?

Remember that the payments you receive in 2021 are only half of the Child Tax Credit. You’ll receive the other half when you file your taxes in 2022, and any missing amount will be included then (so long as it wasn’t used by the IRS to pay any outstanding balances you may have, like unpaid taxes owed).

Want to learn more about the Child Tax Credit?

We’ve got just the thing. Read up on how the CTC works, how the new advance CTC payments work, and why some taxpayers might want to opt out of early payments.


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