Here's What You Need to Remember: The IRS also allows Americans to request payment traces via their website. By completing a payment trace, the agency will be able to determine what happened to a payment and identify how to fix the problem if it never arrived in a recipient’s hands. However, this action is a last resort for the agency, and the other activities on their portals are designed to prevent it.
The expanded Child Tax Credit, established in March 2021 under the American Rescue Plan Act, has already made one payment to qualifying families—sent out in the second half of July, to families with children at or under the age of seventeen. A second payment is being teed up; it is slated to be sent out on Friday, August 13, and will likely arrive via direct deposit much more quickly than for regular mailed checks.
For some families, these payments might take considerably longer to arrive than for others. The main factor is whether a family chooses to receive their payment via direct deposit or not. Direct deposit is the fastest of the methods; if a person’s entered bank account information is correct, the payment should arrive within a few days. For snail mail, on the other hand, the timeframe could take weeks. While most of July’s eligible check recipients will have already received theirs, there are a few families that have not—and, if the pattern is repeated, will probably not receive their August checks until September.
The payments are set at $250 per child per month for children aged six through seventeen, and $300 per month for children aged five or below. The payments are sent out six times in the fall and winter, once a month from July until December. $1,500 to $1,800 can also be claimed on a family’s taxes next year.
These payments are fully refundable, meaning that even if a family owes less in taxes than they would receive in the payment, they are still allowed to keep the difference. Instead of a traditional tax credit, then, the expanded Child Tax Credit payments have effectively taken the form of a miniature stimulus payment reserved for parents.
To ensure that a family receives their payment on time, a parent can visit the IRS’ online Update Portal, which allows them to change the details of their direct deposit and see when a payment was first issued. Given this information, it can quickly become apparent if, and how, a payment was lost. The same portal allows families to update their physical address, in case a paper check was lost in the mail or delivered to the wrong address. A second portal was also established for families whose information was not already present in the IRS database, such as Americans who typically do not pay taxes.
Finally, if all else fails, the IRS also allows Americans to request payment traces via their website. By completing a payment trace, the agency will be able to determine what happened to a payment and identify how to fix the problem if it never arrived in a recipient’s hands. However, this action is a last resort for the agency, and the other activities on their portals are designed to prevent it.
Trevor Filseth is a current and foreign affairs writer for The National Interest. This article is being republished due to reader interest.