The White House has temporarily removed its online child tax credit tool until the end of this tax season due to what the Biden administration said was confusion over who should use the portal.
The widget was created for low-income families — those earning less than $12,400 individually and $24,800 for couples — who aren’t required to file a tax return but can still claim credit payments. children’s tax by providing basic information about their household.
Code for America, which developed the portal for the federal government, said 114,000 households used the tool in the first two months after its launch.
But now the GetCTC service will only be available after the deposit season ends on April 18. Users can only register for portal updates, and non-filers seeking to claim their child tax credit payments will either have to file a return or face long waits for assistance.
Gene Sperling, a senior adviser to President Joe Biden, told Politico that problems arose because people who are required to file mistakenly used the non-filers portal to claim their child tax credit. , then submitted a regular return, essentially a double filing, which created confusion for the understaffed IRS and caused delays.
He said the problem also occurred last fall, but was manageable.
“Last year, since the filing season was already over, those mistakes were sort of no harm, no fault,” Sperling told Politico. “But if that happened at the start of tax filing season this year, those families would go through the child tax credit portal, and then when they tried to file their normal tax returns, they would look like trying to file their taxes twice. ”
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How does this affect low-income families?
Families who are not required to file a tax return must now wait until the end of the tax filing deadline in April to apply for their financial assistance or consider filing a traditional tax return.
However, Children’s Defense Fund political associate Zach Tilly told NBC that there are barriers preventing some people from filing taxes.
“We know that many low-income families don’t have access to their tax documents,” Tilly said. “And I know there is some fear of filing a full tax return and possibly making mistakes in providing details to the IRS.”
The simplified GetCTC tool was designed specifically for very low-income families and would have been of great help to them under their belts, he added.
The IRS urged non-filers to file a traditional return so they could take advantage of other tax benefits they wouldn’t otherwise get, which Tilly also encouraged people to do. These additional benefits include the Refund for Recovery Credit, the Credit for Child Care and Dependent Care Expenses, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
“Many of these families may be eligible to receive the income tax credit, which is another big pool of money,” Tilly said.
Once tax season is over, the administration will reopen the online portal for families to claim their child tax payments and launch a public awareness campaign.
“Once normal tax season is over, we will again do everything we can to get the remaining low-income parents and grandparents who have not filed to do so through this streamlined process,” Sperling told Politico. .
The hundreds of dollars a month from child tax credit payments could be very useful – you can use it for expenses now or even to avoid credit card debt over the holiday season. Personal finance expert Catherine Alford discusses the options.
Resources available to taxpayers
Individual taxpayers can call the IRS Helpline at 800-829-1040 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time for telephone assistance. The agency offers interpreters in over 350 languages. For help in Spanish, call 800-829-1040. For all other languages, call 833-553-9895.
The IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center also now schedules appointments to resolve any tax issues that cannot be resolved over the phone or online. To contact a representative, call 844-545-5640.
Some taxpayers may qualify for free help with tax preparation and electronic filing at a location near them through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Advice for Individuals programs. elderly.