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Still missing your first child tax credit payment? Here’s what to do

The next round of payments are set to go out in August.
The IRS said it sent out the first payments of the Child Tax Credit, totaling $15 billion, but some parents haven’t gotten checks or got less than expected. (Mark Lennihan | AP)

After the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department said it sent out $15 billion to families of almost 60 million children in the first payment under the Child Tax Credit, some parents may be wondering why they still haven’t gotten their money or received less than expected.

The tax credits — included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law in March by President Joe Biden — will provide eligible parents with up to $3,600 per child 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 taxes for 2021.

Families who did not opt to receive the full amount when they file taxes next year were sent their first monthly payments July 15 and will receive them on the 15th of each month (except for August, when payments will be sent on the 13th) for the rest of the year.

Here’s what to do if you’re missing a payment.

I haven't received a payment even though my family is eligible

Check the Update Portal if you filed taxes to see the status of your payment and make sure your bank information is correct, Forbes reported.

You may need to complete a payment trace with the IRS if all of your information is accurate but you didn’t get a payment, according to the publication. If it’s been at least five days since you were scheduled to receive a payment via deposit or four weeks since you were supposed to get a check in the mail, complete Form 3911 and send it to the IRS.

My family is eligible but I didn't file taxes

The IRS is determining your eligibility using your 2019 or 2020 tax return, but if you don’t file taxes, you could still be eligible, CNET reported. Use the IRS nonfiler portal in order to receive future payments.

My child is 5 but I only received $250

Kids who are 6 or younger get $300 per month under the Child Tax Credit while children ages 6 -to 17 get $250 per month, CBS News reported.

The child needs to be under the age of 6 as of December 31, 2021, in order to get the full payment — meaning if your 5-year-old turns 6 in 2021, you won’t be eligible for the full payment.

“A lot of people who have a 5-year-old — say they turn 6 in November — say, ‘Why am I getting $250?’” Mark Steber, Jackson Hewitt’s chief tax information officer, told CBS. “It’s not aged 5 and under sometime during 2021,” but for children who are under 5 as of midnight on the last day of 2021.”

My child is 17 but I didn't receive a payment

Under the Child Tax Credit, only children who are 17 years old as of December 31, 2021 are eligible, according to CBS. A 17-year-old who turns 18 this year won’t get a payment.

About the child tax credits

The temporarily-enhanced tax credits provide eligible families with $3,600 total per child under age 6 and $3,000 total per child ages 6 to 17.

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 higher incomes.

The IRS’ Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant tool allows families to check if they are eligible.

Parents can opt out of future monthly payments using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. They need to do so at least three days before the first Thursday of the following month, the IRS says.

Parents who unenroll will not yet have the option to reenroll later.