Rollout of Advance Child Tax Credit Payments Includes Some Errors and Confusion

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 21, 2021

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While tens of millions of Americans received their first advance child tax credit, many others who qualify have not, and are confused as to why, the Washington Post reported.

The IRS thus far is not reporting any major issues, but there are parents saying either that their payment was smaller than expected, or that it wasn't there at all. Sometimes this has been due to misunderstandings about the program. For example, one woman  didn't know that 17-year-olds qualify only if they are not turning 18 this year. Other times, though, it's a glitch of some sort of at work, such as one family who had actually received confirmation in the mail that they qualify but have yet to receive a single payment. Though the online portal is meant to help in these cases, parents have said it can make the situation even more confusing, such as by telling them there is no credit coming despite their having previously received confirmation that it is. Some who are able to get a hold of a person at the IRS to ask what's happening are saying they left the conversation just as confused as when they started. 

Even when the program is working, taxpayers are also confused over matters such as how the credit will be distributed in the case of divorced or separated parents, or what happens if a pregnant woman is due after the payments begin, or what happens if a parent is not a citizen but that person's children are. 

The issues call to mind the numerous glitches and delays that came to characterize many of the other pandemic aid programs, such as the stimulus checks, Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans and enhanced unemployment payments. In each case, the sheer volume of people claiming the aid caused numerous technical issues as well as a bureaucratic overload that led many who qualified for help to not receive it on time. 

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