Stimulus Update: Reason Behind October Child Tax Credit Payment Delay

Do not despair if you have not yet received your October Child Tax Credit check. The reason for the problem may be very simple that you might not have thought.

When did you receive the latest Child Tax Credit payment?

Millions of tax credit payments have already been made by direct deposit or by mail. The IRS has begun issuing the fourth batch of tax credit payments on Oct. 15.

About 36 million families in the country will receive these funds, totaling $15 billion once all of the payments are made.

Despite this, not every household has received its payment this month. The $250 to $300 max per-child payments for some families have been delayed or missed due to computer glitches and other issues in the past few months.

The IRS’s system for issuing payments is still not fully seamless, even though many of these issues have been resolved. If your latest tax credit check hasn’t arrived yet, here are a few possible reasons for the delay.

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1. Checks Are Mailed To You, Not Deposited Electronically

A snafu with USPS, rather than an IRS error, may have delayed your Child Tax Credit payment if you were supposed to receive it by mail.

By opting to receive payments via direct deposit, you can expect to receive your tax credit payment within a day or two following the date the payment is due.

The wait time for households receiving paper checks in the mail is, however, generally longer than for those who do not. The postal system has to deal with paper checks, which can take 10 days to a couple of weeks to arrive.

It may be a good idea to wait a few more weeks before contacting the IRS for a payment trace if you typically receive paper checks.

2. You Didn’t Update Information With The Irs, But Your Spouse Did

Both spouses or partners must update their information in the IRS system to avoid missing checks or delays if they file jointly with the IRS.

Occasionally, child tax credit checks have been late or not received because only one spouse updated his or her information in the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.

If your check isn’t arriving you may need to update the bank account or mailing information for one spouse in your household.

Payments that are split in half when a party updates their information while the other does not, are sent to each party’s updated address or account, and the other half goes to their old address or account.

This issue robbed and caused many people of their most recent checks to be smaller than normal or not to appear at all in September for about 2% of households.

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3. The Irs Doesn’t Have Your Information On File

Do you have a 2019 or 2020 tax return?

This could explain why you haven’t received your most recent payment if the IRS doesn’t know if you qualify for the tax credit.

If non-filers meet the requirements for the tax credit, they can still qualify for the Child Tax Credit without income, but they must use the Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool to receive the funds.

You won’t get the money if you don’t have a filing tax return on file with the IRS.

The good news is that you still have time to sign up even if you think that could present a problem. Payments for non-filers are still available through the non-filer proceedings, but you must submit your request before November 15.

More so, the money you’re owed from the Child Tax Credit will have to be claimed next year at tax time.

4. The Information You Have On File With The IRS Is Outdated

If you are eligible for the payments, the IRS will use your latest tax filings. Unless you elect to opt out, the payments are automatically made to you when you are determined to be eligible.

The extra cash boost makes life easier for millions of families, but it can cause problems for anyone whose circumstances have changed significantly in the last year or two.

For instance, you can qualify for the payment even if you earned too much last year, but if your income has changed significantly, you may now qualify. It won’t be until you file your upcoming tax return that the IRS learns about that change in income.

In a similar vein, parents who become parents in the 2020s or 2021s, whether by adoption or birth, may also run into this problem.

Due to outdated information on your tax agency file, you may be missing out on the benefits you could receive with your new child.

If you fall here, you may either wait until the IRS portal enables you to change the information or get the money owed to you with your 2020 tax return.

Regardless, you will continue to receive payments, though, you may just have to wait a little longer to access them.

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5. The Payments Were Canceled By You At Some Point In Time

You might be missing your most recent Child Tax Credit payment because you were unenrolled from the payments earlier this year. Unenrolling from the IRS Update Portal’s monthly payments is simple, but re-enrolling is not.

Two options are available to you if you believe this is the reason your October Child Tax Credit payment was missed. It is possible to collect the missed payments in a lump sum from your tax filing for 2021 next April.

It is also possible to re-enroll in Child Tax Credit payments, but you will need to wait until the updated portal makes that feature available later this fall.

The Child Tax Credit will be paid to eligible families with children twice more before the year ends. Mid-November should bring the next payment, and mid-December will bring the final installment. 

In the meantime, we will patiently continue to wait to see if Democrats can get at least one more year’s extension of the Child Tax Credit under the new legislation.

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