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Where in the U.S. families are likely missing out on advance child tax credit checks

Photo via Pexels

There have been some stumbles with the delivery of Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) payments this summer, the most recent happening last month when some were delayed.

That's understandable. The AdvCTC distribution is yet another new job for the Internal Revenue Service, which already is struggling to handle its regular jobs during a persistent pandemic.

Still, it's frustrating for folks depending on the money, which has been increased for the 2021 tax year to $3,600 for each child younger than age 6, and $3,000 for each youngster ages 6 to 17.

Many missing the money: Half of those annual enhanced Child Tax Credit (CTC) amounts are going out now in monthly installments. But some families are not getting them.

Actually, it's more than just some. A recent report from the U.S. Treasury Department says that families with as many as 2.3 million children might be missing out on this early tax break.

This time, though, it's not the IRS' fault. It's because these families did not file income taxes in 2019 or 2020.

Now let's be clear. I'm not blaming those families. They didn't send in a Form 1040 in 2019 or 2020 because they didn't make enough money either year to require them to file returns.

But because the IRS is sending out the AdvCTC amounts based on those prior-year filings, these families are overlooked when it comes to the monthly installments.

There's still time for these families to get half their qualifying CTC amount this year, instead of waiting to claim the credits by, you got it, filing a 2021 tax return next year. They can get half the credit money this year by using the IRS' online Child Tax Credit Update Portal.

It's still worth doing, even with just three months left in the year. When a family is eligible, the IRS will distribute the full qualifying amount in monthly installments, even where the family missed earlier payments.

Where the money's not going: So that we could see areas where families with children are at most risk of missing out on this tax benefit, the Tax Policy Center (TPC) created an interactive map.

That's a non-interactive representation below. You can click on it, however, to go to the TPC's interactive version.

TPC missing AdvCTC map-cropped

The map featured by TPC, a nonprofit joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution, was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Kudos to all the groups, who say they undertook the project so that policymakers and community advocates working to connect eligible families to needed benefits could get a literal look at where AdvCTC amounts are being missed. That way, they can help get the word out to eligible families and get the money in their hands ASAP.

Table, too: In addition to the visual, the TPC also broke out the places where families likely aren't getting the early tax break money.

The top 10 Zip Codes with the highest risk of missing out on the AdvCTC payments are:

Zip Code



of Children



New Jersey




New York



Spring Valley

New York




New York




New York




New York



Los Angeles





New York




New York




New York



I know I have some East Coast readers, but I suspect many of you aren't in this top 10. In that case, or even if your Zip Code is in this list, check out the TPC webpage on potential missing AdvCTC recipients.

Shout out and sharing: In addition to the interactive map, the TPC page has additional data, including the Top 50 places where children are at risk of missing out on the AdvCTC, more on the tax credit itself, and how eligible families to can sign up for the credit. That's why it definitely earns this weekend's Saturday Shout Out.

And if you can help spread the word to eligible needy families missing this money, that would be great, too.

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