March 1, 2024

The IRS just in the first week of filing this tax season sent 2.6 million refunds. That much shorter than the 21 day average for those filing their tax return. If you’re claiming credits, however, such as the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit, you’re wait may be longer. 

This story is part of Taxes 2024, CNET’s coverage of the best tax software, tax tips and everything else you need to file your return and track your refund.

With lots of news around the child tax credit this year — including 15 states that also have a credit, and Congress working on an expanded credit — we’ll explain who’s affected below, along with when you can expect your IRS money to arrive. 

For more, find out if your state is sending child tax credit payments this year. Need help filing your taxes? Here’s how to file for free. 

Read more: Best Tax Software for 2024

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What is the child tax credit?

The child tax credit is a tax break families can receive if they have qualifying children. The amount a family can receive is up to $2,000 per child, but it’s only partially refundable. That means if not all is applied to any taxes you owe to lower your tax bill, you may not receive the additional money left over. 

The refundable portion is called the additional child tax credit, and this year the refundable amount is $1,600. 

When to expect your child tax credit refund

Most additional child tax credit-related refunds should be available in bank accounts or on debit cards by Feb. 27, the IRS said, if taxpayers choose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return. Some could even see their payments deposited a few days sooner.

The delay, according to the IRS, is because the agency cannot issue refunds involving the additional child tax credit (and the earned income tax credit) before mid-February. The agency, by law, is required to use the extra time to prevent fraudulent refunds.

You can check Where’s My Refund? for your personalized refund date. Where’s My Refund? will be updated with projected deposit dates for most early EITC/ACTC refund filers by Feb. 17.

For more tax information, here’s why you should file as soon as possible. Also, here’s how to submit your tax return to the IRS for free.