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Tens of millions of Americans set to get more money from the IRS

The advance child tax credit payment is days away from going out. For some parents, its also the deadline to sign up to get any money this year.

The November installment of the advance child tax credit payment is set to start hitting bank accounts via direct deposit and through the mail next week. The day will also mark a critical deadline for some eligible parents who haven't received any payments this year but still want to get all the money they are owed before the holidays.

The credit is $3,600 annually for children under age 6 and $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17. Eligible families who did not opt-out of the monthly payments will receive $300 monthly for each child under 6 and $250 per older child. Half of that money is going out via the monthly payments, which started in July. The rest will come at tax time next year.

The payments go out on the 15th of each month, except on weekends, so the November payment will come Monday. The final payment for the year will arrive Dec. 15.

Some families should expect a smaller amount than described above. It goes back to what was described as a "technical issue" with the September payments. This caused about 2% of child tax credit recipients to get their payments late that month and, in some cases, caused them to get a few extra dollars. The IRS said it was reducing the October, November and December payments for these people to make up for it.

Last day for some families to sign up for child tax credit

Monday also marks the last day for low-income families to sign up for the advance payments. They may even get all the money they were owed this year in one payment just in time for the holidays.

Eligible parents received the payments automatically based on their 2020 tax returns. But Americans making little-to-no-income are not required to file tax returns, so they have to sign up directly with the IRS using this tool to get the payments.

The IRS said families who sign up by Monday should end up receiving all the money they were owed in advance payments when the next installment goes out on Dec. 15, the IRS said last month. That means a family with two children could get anywhere from $3,000 to $3,600 in one shot.

My payment was issued, but I didn't get it. What do I do?

The IRS website said you can request a payment trace to track your payment if it doesn't arrive, but only after one of these time frames has elapsed.

  • 5 days since the direct deposit date and the bank says it hasn't received the payment.
  • 4 weeks since the payment was mailed by check to a standard address. 
  • 6 weeks since the payment was mailed, and you have a forwarding address on file with the local post office.
  • 9 weeks since the payment was mailed, and you have a foreign address.

To start a trace, complete Form 3911 and fax or mail it in. Instructions on where to send it are at the bottom of the form.

What is an "advance" child tax credit?

In the past, eligible families got a credit after filing their taxes — either as a lump-sum payment or a credit against taxes owed. But now six months of payments, which started in July, are being advance monthly through the end of the year. A recipient receives the second half when they file their taxes.

The benefits begin to phase out at incomes of $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married couples. Families with incomes up to $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for married couples can still receive $2,000, which is what it was before the amount was increased in March.

The expanded child tax credit, which was passed as part of the American Rescue Plan COVID relief bill, is set to lapse at the end of the year. A one-year extension is in the Build Back Better social spending plan currently stalled in Congress. It's passage remains in limbo, but a vote could come as early as next week.

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