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Child tax credit problems? Here’s the best way to contact the IRS

The IRS can help with your child tax credit payment issues.

Angela Lang/CNET

Child tax credit payments haven’t gone without any hiccups this year. If you’re experiencing issues — maybe your paper check hasn’t arrived — you’re probably searching for answers to find out what’s going on or the status of your check. And if you’re using the IRS Update Portal but still having trouble, it may be time to contact the IRS. 

But before you dial the number, it’s good to know that the IRS is juggling stimulus checks, federal tax refunds and other delayed payments right now. So calling may not be the best way due to the long call waiting times and the limits on how much the agency may be able to help you, it may be your only option if you’ve exhausted all other resources. You may be able to answer some of your questions by first making sure that you’re actually eligible for the payments. Did you file your taxes? Is your information updated in the IRS portals? These factors all impact your monthly payments. 

If you’ve gone through all your options and still haven’t found a solution, we’ll tell you how to contact the IRS and potentially make an appointment. Also, here’s how to check the amount of money you should be getting and why you may want to opt out of the child tax credit checks altogether.

Here’s the IRS phone number for child tax credit payment questions

Before you make a call to the IRS, note that the call volumes are extremely high and you may have to wait a long time to speak with a representative. The IRS says you may be waiting on hold for an average of 27 minutes and that wait times are higher on Monday and Tuesday.

To get started, you can call 800-829-1040 to reach the tax agency about an issue you’re having with your child tax credit payment. Make sure you have the following information on hand to verify your identification.

  • Your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Your birth date
  • Filing status — single, head of household, married filing joint or married filing separate

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How to set up an in-person appointment with the IRS

The IRS has many offices across the US, and if there’s one near you, you can make an appointment to speak with someone in person. Here’s how to schedule a meeting.

1. Head to the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Tool page and enter your ZIP code. Tap Search.

2. Choose the location nearest to you and select Make Appointment.

3. Call the appointment phone number for the office you want to visit.

4. When you go to your local branch, make sure to bring a government-issued photo ID and your ITIN or Social Security number.

Note that you may need to follow the IRS guidelines for COVID-19 — for instance, you may be required to wear a mask, maintain social distancing and reschedule your appointment if you feel sick.

For more child tax credit details, here’s how to track your missing check online, when the payments will end and how parents can get the child tax credit for babies born in 2021.

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