What to do if a child tax credit check is stolen or lost? – Community News
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What to do if a child tax credit check is stolen or lost?

Here’s what you need to do to recover a missing child tax credit payment.

On December 2, a New Jersey mailman was arrested for stealing federal incentive checks. In addition to stealing checks, the postman also stole credit cards and shared them with friends. Although he has since been arrested, thefts do occur.

If you’re not sure what to do if a child tax credit check is lost, damaged, or stolen, this article will walk you through the recovery process.

IRS Rules

If a federally issued check, such as a stimulus or Child Tax Credit (CTC) payment, is lost, stolen, or destroyed, the IRS has a plan to help you get the missing money back. The tricky part is that you have to be patient and follow the IRS instructions carefully.

Do not panic

If you’ve received previous child tax credit checks as expected, but now one is missing, there could be several simple explanations, including:

  • Change in your living or banking situation. If previous checks have been mailed to your home and you’ve recently moved, it’s simply a case of the IRS not knowing where to find you. If previous checks were deposited directly into your bank account, have you recently changed banks? If you have moved or changed banks, use the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal to notify them. It may be too late to expect a payment to make its way to your new address or bank by mid-December, but if the CTC is extended through 2022, you’ll want the IRS to have your updated information. In the meantime, keep in mind that you can declare any missed payments on your 2021 tax return.
  • Recent updates. If you recently made updates through the IRS portal, the IRS may still be processing the changes.
  • Slower than normal service. The postal service may take longer than usual to process and deliver your check. Similarly, your bank may take longer than expected to process the most recent direct deposit into your account.

First things first

According to the IRS, you can log into the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to view your processed payment history. If the IRS has already sent your check, it will appear there. If not, you know the IRS is still processing the payment. If the CTC portal indicates that the check has been delivered, check your address and bank details to make sure they are correct.

Remark: You must be registered with the IRS to check your payment history through the portal. If you haven’t registered yet, it’s easy to do from home as long as you have photo ID and the ability to upload a photo of your ID to your computer.

Give time

Because there are several reasons why your check may be delayed, the IRS asks that you wait before contacting them. Here’s how long you should wait before contacting the IRS to request assistance:

Track your money

Once the appropriate amount of time has passed, a trace is initiated by call the IRS at (800) 919-9835 or (800) 829-1040. If you prefer not to call, fill out IRS Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund. Mail the form to the IRS service center in your area. On this page you will find a list of IRS mailing addresses. Use the drop-down menu to open Q F3. At the bottom are the addresses you need.

If you’re requesting a tracking over the phone, don’t confuse the issue by also mailing Form 3911.

Don’t be intimidated by how complicated Form 3911 appears to be. There are four critical issues to keep in mind:

  1. At the top, write Form 3911 “AdvCTCPMT” (for payment of Advanced Child Tax Credit). This will let the IRS know which payment type you want to track. Next to AdvCTCPMT, enter the month (or months) you are looking for. For example, if you missed the September payment, write AdvCTCPMT-September.
  2. Don’t worry about filling out the top part of the form. The IRS will fill it out after running a trace. Complete parts I, II and III.
  3. Item 7 (under Section I) asks about the type of return. Even if you are not tracking a tax return, check the box for ‘Individual’. Enter “2021” as the tax period and do not write anything next to “date filed”.
  4. If you file a joint return, both you and your partner must sign the form.

Two months on the road

The IRS reports that it can take up to six weeks to run a trace and provide a response. If you plan to file taxes in January 2021, you’re better off requesting the missed payment (or payments) when you file your application. If you normally file taxes later in the year, it’s best to contact the IRS now.

It’s much more likely that your missing check is the result of a harmless mistake rather than a shady-eyed check thief. Regardless of how the check is lost, destroyed or stolen, you are entitled to your CTC funds. It’s just a matter of letting the IRS know how much you owe.