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2021 Child Tax Credit: what to do if you get message "your eligibility has not been determined"

The 13 August saw the most recent round of Child Tax Credit payments being sent to eligible househoids but it's not been a smooth process for everyone.

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2021 Child Tax Credit: what to do if you get message "your eligibility has not been determined"

We are already seeing the positive impact that the first payment of the enhanced Child Tax Credit for the 2021 fiscal year is has had in millions of American homes. Those benefits, which began dropping in bank accounts mid July, have now been followed up by a second installment in August, with four more currently planned to take us to the end of the year.

Despite the significant assistance that this program is providing to families, not everyone's process has been as smooth as they had hoped. One question that we have seen asked by many who access the IRS portal is what to do when faced with the message: "your eligibility has not been determined". For this there are some steps you should take.

1. Check if you are indeed eligible

Who is eligible?

The new credit is available to taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income (AGI) of:

- $75,000 or less for singles,
- $112,500 or less for heads of household and
- $150,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return and qualified widows and widowers.

That includes 88% of American families.

Use this handy eligibility assistant from the IRS for further info on your specific situation, although it's worth pointing out that the IRS makes no guarantees about the accuracy of this eligibility result and accepts no liability resulting from your use of this result.

2. Await news, check your stored information

If you believe that you fulfil the criteria then it's likely that the IRS is still reviewing your account to determine your eligibility. While this is going on you will not receive the credit payments. If the IRS is unable to confirm the payments in 2021, you may claim the credit on your 2021 tax return when you file in 2022. Make sure all your details stored on the system are correct.

What to know once eligibility confirmed

Once the situation has been resolved and if you get confirmation that you are entitled to the Child Tax Credit, you will be wanting to know the following.

How much money should I expect?

For each child under six, those eligible will receive $300 a month, and for children between the ages of six and seventeen, $250 will be sent. There is no limit on the number of children in an eligible family and unless you opted out, it is totally automatic, unless you are part of the aforementioned group which hasn't filed taxes. The IRS calculator is available for you.

If you are only just filing your taxes for the first time now, then you will receive payments for July and August, you won't miss out.

When should the credit arrive?

For bank deposits the IRS says the transfers should arrive within three business days. If your credit is being sent by mailed check then it could take one to to weeks to arrive.

The IRS says 9 out of 10 people will have received the credit within 21 days, before 3 September.

How can I check if the credit has arrived?

Firstly, make sure you are eligible for the Child Tax Credit with this tool from the IRS.

If you didn't file your taxes in 2020 or 2019 then you will need to use this link to the IRS portal. You can fill in the necessary details there make sure your payments begin.

The IRS also has a FAQ page on its website for other pressing questions.

If you qualify for the credit, and have filed your taxes in the last two years, but still haven't received the money then use these tools to check where your money is:

- Check the IRS Child Tax portal, you can track when the IRS sent your payment for both online and mail payments;
- Check your bank account. It may sound obvious, but it could be worth checking again. It will appear in your bank account under the name 'IRS TREAS 310.'
- Five days after the expected deposit date, which for this month is right now, you can file a trace with the IRS. For domestic mail you can file a trace four weeks after the expected arrival date. You can do this here.