Stimulus Update: What Should You Do if You Lost Your Child Tax Credit Check?

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Whether your Child Tax Credit check was lost, stolen, destroyed or not received, the IRS has a plan to help.

See: IRS Announces More Self-Help Apps Available With Login
Find: Why You Need To Be Paying Yourself First

If any of the above conditions apply to you, you can log in to the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to view your processed payment history. According to the IRS, a payment should appear if your check was sent out. If not, the IRS is still processing the payment. 

You can also call the IRS to request a payment trace. However, the IRS can’t initiate a trace unless it has been:

  • Five days if your bank still hasn’t received a direct deposit;
  • Four weeks since your check was mailed to a standard address;
  • Six weeks since your check was mailed to a forwarded address; or
  • Nine weeks since your check was mailed to a foreign address.
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To initiate a payment trace, you can call the IRS or fill out a form. Call the IRS at (800) 919-9835 or (800) 829-1040. If you prefer to send a form, fill out Form 3911 and either fax or mail it to the appropriate address — a link to the relevant IRS addresses is presented here, under Q F3

If you’d rather fill out the form, make sure you write “AdvCTCPMT” (for Advanced Child Tax Credit payment) at the top. Next to that, include the month or months that you want to trace. Make sure to fill out sections I, II and III. Under Section I item 7, where it asks for the type of return, check the box for “Individual” and enter “2021” as the tax period — and leave “date filed” blank. If you filed jointly, you and your spouse both need to sign the form.

See: Didn’t Get Your Child Tax Credit? Here’s How to Track It Down
Find: Reconcile the Child Tax Credit on Your 2021 Tax Return — Here’s How

According to the IRS, it could take six weeks to do a payment trace or to receive a response. If you plan to file early, it may be easier to claim the missing payments when you file.

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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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