Stimulus Update: How To Request an IRS Trace for Lost Child Tax Credit Payment

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Are you missing one or more advanced payments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit (CTC)? You may need to request a payment trace with the IRS, especially if your budget largely depends on the monthly check.

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Before contacting the IRS, you can log in to the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to view your processed payment history. Payment history should appear and should also tell you if it was sent via mail or direct deposit; however, if not, the IRS could still be processing the payment.

You may request a payment trace, but the IRS cannot initiate a trace unless it’s been:

  • Five days and your bank hasn’t received the direct deposit;
  • Four weeks since your check was mailed to a standard U.S. address;
  • Six weeks since your check was mailed to a forwarding address; or
  • Nine weeks since your check was mailed to a foreign address.
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If you still haven’t received your CTC payment, you can call the IRS at (800) 919-9835 or (800) 829-1040, or you can fill out Form 3911 and mail or fax the completed form to the appropriate address. Do not mail the form if you have already requested an IRS payment trace by phone.

If you’re filling out the form, make sure to write “AdvCTCPMT” (for Advanced Child Tax Credit payment) at the top. Next to it, write down the month or months that you wish to trace. Be sure to complete sections I, II and III. When completing item 7 under Section I, check the box for “individual” as the type of return and write “2021” as the tax period. Leave “date filed” blank. If you and your spouse filed jointly, you will both be required to sign the form.

See: How To Get Your New Baby’s or Older Child’s Social Security Number
Explore: Child Tax Credit Payments Still Aren’t Getting to Those Who Need Them Most

The IRS will process your claim and work with the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service to track down your lost CTC payment. According to the IRS, it could take up to six weeks to do a payment trace or to receive a response.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.

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