Didn’t get your IRS child tax credit check? Here’s what to try if your payment never showed up

By Christopher Zara

July 16, 2021

This week, the Internal Revenue Service began delivering the first round of advance payments for the child tax credit, but as is the case with anything the IRS does, the process is not going 100% smoothly.

The payments are being delivered in monthly checks of up to $300 per child. They began to hit bank accounts on July 15 and will continue each month through December. However, a cursory scan of social media reveals that many parents who were expecting a check via direct deposit did not receive one. If you’re among that group, here are a few things you can try.

Double check your eligibility

The IRS “eligibility assistant” will walk you though the process to help you determine if you’re eligible for the advance payments. Even if you’ve used this tool before, it’s worth trying it again if you were expecting a payment and did not receive one. The tool was last updated on July 14, the day before payments were due to arrive.

Double check your payment method

The IRS “child tax credit update portal” lets you check to see if you’re enrolled to receive the advance payments, and by which method. Double check here to make sure the IRS has the most current payment information for you on file. If it doesn’t, it’s possible your payment will be sent to the wrong bank account or via paper check.

Check with your bank

The IRS said (July 26, 2021) that payments were distributed to about 35 million families. If you were expecting one but didn’t receive it, the delay could be on your bank’s end. Direct deposit payments can be delayed for a number of reasons, so it’s worth checking with your bank or just waiting a few business days to see if it shows up.

Resolve any tax-ID theft issues

If you have been a victim of identity theft, the IRS may not distribute the payment to you until you resolve the issue, which involves filling out a special form. You can learn more about how to do that here.

Try a payment trace

If the IRS has told you it issued a payment via direct deposit, but it never showed up—and your bank doesn’t know where it is—you can try doing a payment trace as a last resort, but only after at least five business days have passed. Visit this link to learn more about payment traces. Good luck!