My Economic Stimulus Check Didn’t Include Money for My Kids!

Many of you reading my article My Economic Stimulus Check Didn’t Arrive When Promised are saying that you did receive your Economic Stimulus check, but it didn’t include the $300 per child at all, or it didn’t give you $300 for every child you have.

The IRS has now acknowledged that this is in fact a “systemic” error, meaning it a problem with the way the affected returns were processed, and that it affects many taxpayers.

The IRS says the problem occurs when taxpayers complete their return incorrectly or a glitch in some tax software programs.

The IRS frequently asked questions page has been updated with this news:

Q. I received my stimulus payment and it didn’t include money for my kids. Does the IRS plan to send me an additional check?

A: Yes. The Internal Revenue Service will mail out approximately 350,000 additional economic stimulus payments starting in early July after discovering that some tax returns were improperly filed and did not capture the information needed to generate the $300 in qualifying child payments.

In some instances, taxpayers did not check the proper box to trigger the $300 child payment. In other instances, a few tax software products primarily used by tax professionals did not capture the proper information needed for issuing the child stimulus payment.

To fix the problem, the IRS is taking extra steps to identify the affected taxpayers and send them separate checks to cover their qualifying children. The IRS emphasized that the corrected checks will be mailed automatically, and taxpayers don’t need to call or take any additional steps.

The vast majority of tax returns with child payments were completed accurately by taxpayers, tax professionals and software providers. The IRS estimates that more than 99 percent of nearly 36 million returns eligible for child stimulus payments were filled out accurately by taxpayers, meaning that less than 1 percent will need the additional check mail-outs.

The additional payments involving qualifying children will be made starting in early July. These payments will be made by paper check, even if people received their regular tax refund or initial stimulus payment by direct deposit.

Taxpayers in this situation received — or will receive in the next few weeks — stimulus payments falling $300 short per eligible child.

The additional checks will be mailed as the regular weekly round of stimulus payments wrap up in early July. The regular stimulus payment timetable will not be affected by these additional checks.

The issue with the child payments involves the Child Tax Credit checkbox on line 6c, column (4) on Form 1040 and Form 1040A.

For the stimulus payments, IRS systems look for information in the checkbox area to generate the $300 qualifying child stimulus payment. In instances involving paper returns, taxpayers did not check this box when completing their return. In some instances, tax software may not have checked this box, meaning the $300 payment was not triggered.

The IRS has worked closely with the two affected software vendors on this. The IRS appreciates the willingness of these firms to help identify the problem. They have reported to the IRS that their software has been corrected.

The majority of the tax software issues involve commercial versions used by tax professionals and tax preparers. Included are Petz Enterprises’ professional and on-line software as well as ProSystems fx Tax software and on-line CompleteTax software from CCH.

Taxpayers with questions about whether they are affected can contact their tax preparer or software provider.

For taxpayers who haven’t filed a tax return yet, the IRS urges them to update their tax software before filing to ensure proper handling of their economic stimulus payment. Paper filers should make sure to review the eligibility requirements for qualifying children and check the box on line 6c, column (4) if appropriate.

So, there’s an answer for you. I hope your check arrives quickly!

And in other IRS snafu news, Apparently the IRS may have deposited your payment into someone else’s account. Sorry, but if you got someone else’s payment you do not get to keep it. You should contact the IRS immediately.

They make lots of other errors, too.

The IRS has gotten the vast, vast majority of checks to people when they’re supposed to get there. If you’re not one of that vast, vast majority, though, that’s no comfort, is it?


Update 6.16.2008 – The IRS knows it messed up on the kids.  They’re sending out more checks.  Click here for more info!

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