The IRS Now Won't Let You Do This Until After April 18
The tax agency has put a temporary pause on this important service.
Dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can be confusing enough, even when it isn't tax season. Whether you owe the tax agency money or you're hoping to get money back, the IRS has worked to create and supply a number of tools and services for people across the U.S. to help them navigate their financial situation. Unfortunately, the agency just revealed that it has put a pause on one of its key services until after this tax season's deadline passes. Read on to find out what the IRS is not allowing you to do right now.
The IRS is no longer allowing people to use its Child Tax Credit tool.
The White House has put a temporary pause on the IRS' Child Tax Credit tool, Politico reported on March 3. According to the tax agency, the Child Tax Credit portal was built out as an online app that allows non-filers to report basic information in order to still receive their child tax credit payments. Generally, people who earn less than $12,400 individually or $24,800 as a couple do not have to file a tax return.
"If you want to receive your remaining or missing Child Tax Credit today, you need to file a tax return," the GetCTC app website now reads. The site does not allow people to sign up for the portal anymore, instead offering a sign-up option for people to receive updates about the tool.
Officials were worried that the portal would create too much confusion for taxpayers.
Code for America, who developed the GetCTC portal app for the IRS, said that 114,000 households were using the tool just around two months after it was built. But White House officials told Politico that they feared the tool would create too many problems amid tax season by allowing people who are required to file taxes to use the non-filer portal. After all, in fall 2021, many taxpayers who were required to file used the portal by mistake.
According to Politico, if a taxpayer used the non-filer portal to try to claim their child tax credit money and then later filed a full tax return, they would get flagged by the IRS for filing more than one return. "Last year, since the filing season had already ended, those mistakes were kind of no harm, no foul," Gene Sperling, a senior adviser to President Joe Biden, told the news outlet.
"But if that happened at the beginning of the filing season this year, these families would get through the Child Tax Credit portal and then when they try to do their normal tax filings, they would look like they were trying to file their taxes twice," Sperling further explained. "That could lock them out of any benefits for months while the IRS tries to sort out their situation."
RELATED: For more tax news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
But the tool is only being temporarily suspended.
A top White House official told Politico that the administration will reopen the Child Tax Credit portal after the filing season ends on April 18. "We are still deeply committed to ensuring low-income Americans can get their Child Tax Credit," Sperling said. "Once the normal tax season is over, we will again do an all-out push to get those remaining low-income parents and grandparents who haven't filed to do so through this simplified process."
However, some experts and advocates warn that the current decision will directly harm low-income people, who may end up facing long waits for monetary assistance or miss out on the payments altogether, Politico reported. "It's going to be confusing for people," David Newville, a senior program director at Code for America, which developed the non-filer portal promoted by the administration, told the news outlet. "If they used the tool, they're going to want to use it again."
The agency is encouraging non-filers to fill out a tax return in the meantime.
While the tool is suspended, the IRS is encouraging low earners to fill out a traditional tax return even if they aren't required to do so. According to Politico, this will prevent them from having to wait for their money and also potentially allow them to qualify for other additional tax benefits.
"This is a year when many people who don't normally need to file a return should consider filing so they can take advantage of such expanded benefits as the Recovery Rebate Credit, Child Tax Credit, Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses and Earned Income Tax Credit," the IRS said in a Feb. 2022 statement.
But this is a lofty request from the administration, according to Newville. The programmer told Politico that some people won't bother trying to fill out an entire tax return and will instead, be forced to wait on payments. "The full return has lots of challenges for non-filers who have a hard time navigating the process," he said. "It is a really high bar for some folks."