Tax refund delays could cause mess for Child Tax Credit recipients

Millions of people are frustrated that their 2020 federal income tax refunds are missing in action in the wake of what one tax official called “the perfect storm.” 

And sadly, the angst could grow in July as many families receive the first payment of up to $300 a month for the advanced Child Tax Credit, while others are left on the sidelines wondering why they didn’t get all the money they’re expecting now. 

Tax troubles in the 2021 season are bound to snowball as one problem rolls along and triggers another. At some point, things can improve but for many, the question is when?

Consider, for example, if your 2020 tax return hasn’t been processed yet and your family welcomed a baby last year. 

How is the Internal Revenue Service going to send you money as soon as July 15 for a child born in 2020? The child would be claimed on a 2020 return but wouldn’t show up on the 2019 tax return that the IRS would end up using to send out an advance now on your credit if that 2020 return isn’t processed yet. 

Janice and James Hanlon of Shelby Township, both 71, spend time at their home Wednesday, July 7, 2021. The couple has been waiting since March 2021 for their income tax refund.

What a mess. 

The IRS said tax returns processed by June 28 will be reflected in the first batch of monthly payments for the advance Child Tax  Credit scheduled for July 15. But others could be questioning what happened to their money. 

Millions wait for their returns to be processed

Typically, tax professionals say many people will receive their federal income tax refunds within one to four weeks after electronically filing a return.