As the second round of Child Tax Credit payments go out this month, it almost goes without saying: There have been some speed bumps so far.
This shouldn’t serve as too much of a surprise. Over time, millions of taxpayers have expressed having technical issues receiving everything from their tax refunds to economic relief payments. And what’s more, plenty of non-buggy issues can come between you and a payment.
But if you were expecting to receive an economic relief payment and haven’t yet, now’s the time to start asking questions. We’re here to offer a brief explanation of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments, what might have prevented you from receiving yours, and what you should do next.
We’d recommend you visit our primer of the CTC payments before going much further here. But for the uninitiated, you can qualify for these advanced payments with a few considerations.
First, you must primarily live in the United States, or file jointly with someone who primarily lives in the United States. This is a complicated way of saying you must reside in the U.S. for over half of the year.
Next, you must have a child with a valid Social Security number who is under age 18 by the end of 2021.
Additionally, you must earn within certain limits. For single filers, the credit begins phasing out if you earn more than $75,000; for married, joint filers, the total is $150,000.
If you check all these boxes, you should qualify to receive the advanced Child Tax Credit payments, which began going out on July 15. August marks the second month of these payments, so if you haven’t received your first, let’s walk through possible reasons.
Assuming you qualify for these advanced payments, the IRS will automatically send out your payment if you’ve taken the credit before. You must have filed and claimed the credit in either 2019 or 2020. If you have a newborn, for example, you may not have claimed the little one on your 2020 tax return. The IRS won’t automatically enroll you.
For non-filers, the IRS may simply not have your information. In 2020, the IRS set up a tool to allow these folks to access economic relief payments due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you didn’t use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool, the IRS may not have your payment info that they’d normally acquire during your routine tax filings.
In the last year, millions have moved out of cities, back home to families, and into their very first homes. With all these moves, the IRS may not have your most up-to-date payment or personal info. For example, should you typically receive tax refunds by check in the mail, if you’ve moved and your mail forwarding has expired, the check may have been routed to an old address.
In some instances, you may not qualify for a payment that you thought you did. Those qualifications are pretty comprehensive, but there may be certain reasons specific to your situation preventing you from accessing these payments. Let’s discuss what you can do to double-check.
The IRS has a pretty extensive list of FAQs about the advance Child Tax Credit payments. You can view them here.
But you can update certain information, including updates to your dependents, marital status, income, bank information, and un- or re-enroll from these payments. Visit the IRS site and the Advance Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant here.
Also, consider this good news. If you do qualify for these tax payments and haven’t been able to get them, you’ll still be able to take the credit on your 2021 tax return next tax season. These payments only amount to half of the tax credit, the second half of which will apply to your tax obligation and may give you a refund. If you haven’t taken these payments, you can claim the full credit then.
These advance Child Tax Credit payments can be entirely life changing for millions who qualify. We hope you’ve gained some context around these payments and what you might be able to do to access yours before next year. A healthy financial outlook awaits—can you see it?
Are you struggling with tax debt, a tax lien, IRS wage garnishments, or other serious tax issues? You don’t need to go it alone—we’re here to help. Send us a message today via our free live chat and get the help you and your family deserve.
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