Stimulus Update: Some Tax-Filers Are Getting Incorrect Child Tax Credit Letters

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  • Half of the 2021 Child Tax Credit was paid in monthly installments from July through December.
  • Here's what to do if the amount you're listed as having received last year is incorrect.

Talk about needless stress.

Last year, the boosted Child Tax Credit served as a lifeline for millions of U.S. households. Not only did the credit help pull many children out of poverty, but it also helped families shore up their finances by padding their savings and paying off debt.

Half of last year's Child Tax Credit was paid in monthly installments that began in July and wrapped up in December. Those eligible for additional funds through the credit will need to claim them on their 2021 tax returns, which are due on April 18 this year.

If you received Child Tax Credit payments last year, you'll need to look out for an important notice in the mail called Letter 6419. That letter will list the Child Tax Credit payments you received in 2021 so you can figure out how much to claim for the credit on your taxes.

But what if that letter is incorrect? Unfortunately, it's a scenario some families have run into already. Here's what you need to know.

Beware an incorrect Child Tax Credit letter

Last year, the value of the Child Tax Credit increased from $2,000 to $3,000 for children aged 6 to 17 and $3,600 for those under age 6. It's not really clear why some families are receiving erroneous information about the Child Tax Credit payments they received last year. However, one theory is that recipients who switched banks or had direct deposit payments rejected may have incorrect information on Letter 6419 as a result.

If your letter is incorrect, don't panic. There are other ways to verify the amount you were paid so you know how much of the credit to claim this year.

First, you can look at the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal. It should contain a record of the various payments that were sent to you. If that total looks more accurate, you can use that to reconcile the amount of the credit you're still owed.

However, if the information on that portal matches the information contained in your letter, and both are incorrect, then you'll need to reach out to the IRS to try to reconcile the issue. You may need to provide the IRS with copies of your bank statements showing that money never hit your account.

Not a widespread issue

While the IRS acknowledges that some tax filers may be receiving incorrect information about their 2021 Child Tax Credit payments, the problem supposedly isn't rampant. But still, it's a hassle for those impacted to have to deal with, especially at a time when so many families are grappling with the stress of not having Child Tax Credit payments to look forward to this year.

President Biden had initially written a one-year extension of the boosted Child Tax Credit into his Build Back Better spending bill. But that bill has yet to move forward in the Senate and it's looking extremely unlikely that it will pass in its current form. That means families may have no choice but to write off the boosted Child Tax Credit for 2022 -- and the monthly payments that came along with it.

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