(NEXSTAR) – The official disbursement date for the first child tax credit payments from the Internal Revenue Service is Thursday, but parents may not want to spend the day hitting refresh on the bank balance.
As moms and dads probably know by now, the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan calls for six monthly payments to parents beginning July 15.
For this year only, the child tax credit has increased from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child. Parents of children under age 6 would be eligible for an even larger $3,600 total credit. The plan also includes $3,000 benefits to the parents of 17-year-olds who meet plan qualifications. Previously, children had to be 16 or younger.
Up to half of that credit will be distributed over the final six months of this year, meaning a typical parent of one kid over 6 can expect a $250 payment later this month as the first of six installments of the advanced payment of $1,500. There are also phase-outs on the increased benefits based on income.
But payment may not come in by Thursday night, even for parents with IRS-linked bank accounts expecting a direct deposit. The IRS is a collection agency, not a disbursement vehicle and they’ve been on a tight timeline to launch these monthly payments. During the lockdown, the agency dealt with a number of logistical delays in stimulus payments as they attempted to fire off millions of checks, and similar snags could take place this time around.
But if you are one of 36 million American families expecting a new cash infusion, all you care about is your check. So how will you know if your payment is late or just missing?
The IRS wants you to first check the IRS child tax credit portal to verify eligibility and payment issue method. If it appears your payment should have hit your account but your bank says it still hasn’t received the funds, you can file a trace. A trace is an IRS inquiry into what happened with your funds, and it can be requested by mailing or faxing IRS form 3911 back to the agency.
The IRS has previously said a trace takes about six weeks to return a result. The agency says it will not be able to initiate a trace unless direct deposit recipients have waited at least five days from the deposit date. Check recipients are asked to wait four weeks from the payment date before filing.
The IRS has launched a frequently asked questions page to address delays, eligibility, and other common questions related to the CTC checks.