Still Waiting on Your $250-$300 Child Tax Credit? Try These Next Steps.

Advanced child tax credit payments had a drastic impact on child poverty in the US, according to nonpartisan analysis of last year's COVID recovery program. (Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

By Sarah Ovaska

July 26, 2021

The monthly payments of up to $300 per child started going out July 15. We’ve got some answers if you haven’t gotten your family’s share yet.

The child tax credit is not new, but you’re getting more and getting some of it in advance with monthly payments of up to $300 that began going out July 15.

Still, not every family has received their first payment, and we’ve got some tips below on what to do if that’s the case.  

First, here’s the details of what the child tax credit is. Parents and guardians typically claim their $2,000-per-child tax credit when they file their taxes each year, meaning they get to chop $2,000 off of their entire tax bill.

But in 2021, the amount of the child tax credit increased significantly as part of the American Rescue Plan, pushed through Congress and signed by President Joe Biden to help families recover from the economic toll caused by the pandemic. This year, the credit went up to $3,000 for those with kids 6 to 17, and $3,600 for those with children under age 6. On top of that, parents started seeing that money in mid-July, with monthly deposits slated through the end of the year. The enhanced payments could cut child poverty  in half. 

The increase is temporary, meaning it will only be here for 2021, though Biden and congressional Democrats have already drafted legislation that would keep it in place through 2025.  

But if you haven’t gotten your first $250 to $300 payment, here’s what to do.

Check Eligibility

The IRS launched a portal for people to see what the status of their child tax credit is.

Once you log in using secure information like your social security number, you can check to see if you’re listed as eligible, as well as options to manage your payments and update information. You can also opt here to hold off on advance payments, and just apply the entire tax credit of $3,000 to $3,600 when you file your 2021 taxes next year.

Please note that there have already been scams reported related to the credit, and the IRS will not be calling, texting, or reaching out to you on social media about the child tax credit.

Eligible families include custodial parents and guardians with children who were 17 and under in 2021. The child needs to be a US citizen or lawful resident, but the immigration status of parents is not a factor in receiving the payment. 

There is an income limit, but it’s pretty high, at $150,000 for those filing joint returns, $112,500 for a head of household designation (often used by single parents), and $75,000 for individuals. And if you do make more than that, you’ll see lower payments.

Look at Your Direct Deposit Information

If July 15 came and went without a deposit, check to see if the IRS has the correct banking information on file.

Your information should be on file if you’ve had a refund deposited to your bank, or made payments to the IRS in recent years. If not, the federal agency will send checks through the mail to those who don’t have direct deposit information on file. 

To check your information, log into that IRS portal and go to direct deposit information to ensure you’ve got the right bank routing number and account number down.

You can change the information to have it effective for the next payment issuance on Aug. 15.

And if you have, and the IRS shows a payment has been processed and it still hasn’t showed up in your bank account five days later, you can request a trace to see just where the payment ended up.

New Babies 

Chances are, if you had a baby in 2021 or welcomed another child into your home, you didn’t send an announcement to the IRS. 

Even if you had, the behemoth of a federal agency likely wouldn’t have taken note.

But you can add your new child’s information in the portal, to ensure you get those advance payments for the rest of 2021.

Still No Luck?

The IRS is notorious for being hard to get ahold of, but you can call their helpline at 1-800-829-1040 if none of the above solutions helped. Be prepared to wait on hold for a while.

Those who are hearing impaired can call TTY/TDD 1-800-829-4059.


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