Stimulus Update: Reasons Your October Child Tax Credit Payment Hasn’t Hit Yet

Happy young mixed race couple spending time with their daughter.
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The fourth installment of the advance portion of the Child Tax Credit for 2021 was deposited into millions of bank accounts almost two weeks ago, but many Americans still have not received their checks.

See: Stimulus Errors: Was Your Child Tax Credit Check Smaller Than Usual? Here’s What’s Going On
Find: Stimulus Alert: Manchin Wants Child Tax Credit Earnings Limit at $60K — Is It a Realistic Threshold?

The IRS has acknowledged several system glitches and technical bugs that have prevented some families from receiving their full payments, or in some cases, any payment at all. Most of these problems have to do with new updates to the personal information portion of the IRS update portal system or changes in status that were recently reported.

Here are some common problems taxpayers have been facing delays in their checks.

Spousal Info Update

One of the biggest complaints the IRS has received over the past couple of months has been changes or delays in child tax credit payments in instances where couples file jointly and there is an information change. If you file jointly with a partner or spouse and need to update personal information, particularly bank direct deposit information, BOTH partners need to update their information in the CTC Update Portal to avoid delays or worse, missing a payment altogether. The IRS has acknowledged that a good deal of problems with payments have come as a result of one spouse updating information while the other spouse has not. If you file jointly, make sure you check your information is up to date for all parties involved. When the information is not updated, the payment is essentially split in half, as the system recognizes only one portion of the payment being legitimate. This error caused 2% of payments in September to either go missing, be reduced, or come late.

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Paper Check Instead of Direct Deposit

The schedule for direct deposit payments for the child tax credit are the exact dates when the child tax credit will hit your bank account. If you did not elect direct deposit and are receiving paper checks, you are more likely to experience delays in receiving your payment than those who receive it immediately upon direct deposit. The IRS has addressed this in the past as an area of delay for some taxpayers.

If you wish to switch from paper checks to direct deposit, it is possible to do so in the same IRS Update Portal you would utilize for updating personal bank information. Doing so will ensure you receive your check on the exact date the payment is scheduled to go out instead of waiting for a paper check to be mailed.

See: Stimulus Update: The Child Tax Credit Opt Out Deadline is November 4
Find: Which States Received The Most Child Tax Credit Money To Date?

Other reasons you are not receiving payment overall cold be because you did not sign up for the credit through the Non-Filer tool (if you normally do not file taxes) and the IRS does not have your information on file, or you have new status changes (like the birth of a child) that has not been officially updated yet.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

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