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Missing September’s child tax credit payment? You should get it soon, IRS says

Some eligible parents who are missing their September child tax credit payments should get them soon.

The Internal Revenue Service said Sept. 17 that it was aware of cases in which parents who received payments in July and August had not yet received their third payments, which went out Sept. 15. On Friday, the agency said it had fixed a “technical issue” that it said caused the delays for less than 2% of eligible families.

“We know people depend on receiving these payments on time and we apologize for the delay,” the IRS said.

It said Friday that those missing their payments because of the technical issue should receive them as early as that day via direct deposit or “in the coming days” through the mail.

“The impacted group primarily included taxpayers who recently made an update on their bank account or address on the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal and affected payments to married filing jointly taxpayers where only one spouse made a bank or address change,” the IRS said.

The IRS also explained why some parents received less money than expected.

“If only one spouse changed an address or bank account, the other spouse’s half could be going to the old address or bank account,” the agency said. “In these instances, the full payment will still be distributed. Monthly payment amounts can also change depending on recently processed tax returns. We encourage people to check the IRS CTC Update Portal for the latest payment information.”

What to do if you’re missing a previous payment

Eligible families who have not received their July or August payments should check the update portal to make sure they are enrolled in the payments and that the payments are being sent to the right place.

Those who haven’t received their issued payments after a certain amount of time can request a payment trace to track their payment by mailing or faxing the IRS a completed Form 3911, which can be found here.

The IRS said it can’t trace a payment unless it has been:

more than five days “since the deposit date and the bank says it hasn’t received the payment”

more than four weeks since the payment was sent via mail

more than six weeks since the payment was mailed to families with a forwarding address

more than nine weeks since the payment was sent to an address outside the U.S.

Families also need to have filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return or used the IRS’s non-filers tool, which remains available through Oct. 15, to receive the tax credits. The IRS said earlier this month it’s “not too late” for families who haven’t done so yet to sign up for the payments.

The Treasury Department has said eligible families who didn’t sign-up in time to receive the first rounds of payments can “receive increased monthly payments to catch-up for previous months after they sign up.”

About the child tax credit

The temporarily enhanced tax credits — included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Joe Biden in March — provide eligible parents with $3,600 total per child under age 6 and $3,000 total per child ages 6 to 17 over the course of a year.

The first half of the credit will be sent as monthly payments of up to $300 for the rest of 2021, and the second half can be claimed when filing 2021 taxes. The next payments are scheduled to go out Oct. 15.

Single parents earning up to $75,000 a year and couples earning up to $150,000 a year are eligible for the full credit. Benefits are then phased out for people with higher incomes.

Parents can unenroll from the monthly payments and instead receive a larger lump sum when they file their 2021 income taxes. They can unenroll from future payments using the update portal. Once families opt out of the direct payments, they won’t have an option to re-enroll yet. Oct. 4 is the deadline to opt out of the fourth payment.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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