In an effort to expedite the payments from the expanded child tax credits under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan to those who generally don’t file tax returns because they earn too little, the Internal Revenue Service has taken action to launch a special tool.
According to the agency, it was “developed in partnership with Intuit and delivered through the Free File Alliance … (and will provide) a free and easy way for eligible people who don’t make enough income to have an income tax return-filing obligation to provide the IRS the basic information needed.”
However, it appears that there are plenty of reports of some people complaining that the tool will be too difficult to use and won’t be accessible to many eligible Americans. Some of the problems being pointed out are that the tool isn’t mobile-friendly, need an email address to access it, and that it is only in English.
Because of the so-called digital divide plaguing many low-income communities, many users won’t have access to a computer or even have an email address. And for the newer immigrants, completing the process in only English might be too difficult of a task, according to experts.
“The work on this was accelerated to make it available as quickly as possible leveraging pre-existing programming,” the IRS said in a statement.
“However, we will work with our partner groups to help ensure there is wide access to this important new tool,” it added.
Also, know that there will be another portal that will be launched by July 1 to help individuals update and adjust their information and any changes regarding the number and age of child dependents.
“Later this year, individuals and families will also be able to go to IRS.gov and use a Child Tax Credit Update Portal to notify IRS of changes in their income, filing status, or number of qualifying children; update their direct deposit information; and make other changes to ensure they are receiving the right amount as quickly as possible,” the tax agency states.
Parents should also be aware that the IRS will be mailing out two letters. The first is heading out to those who may be eligible to receive the monthly credit payments, while the second, more personalized letter will have the estimated amount of their monthly checks.
Under Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, eligible parents can now collect as much as $3,600 per year for a child under the age of six and up to $3,000 for children between ages six and seventeen. Broken down further, that amounts to a $250 or a $300 direct cash payment for each child every month till the end of the year.
The first batch of payments is expected to be disbursed on July 15.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.