Child tax credit 2022: IRS warns some families may have received incorrect letter

Wrong info on IRS Letter 6419 could have serious financial implications for some Americans

A crucial letter that will help child tax credit recipients figure out how much money the IRS still owes them may contain incorrect information. 

The IRS said this week that it is investigating reports from some taxpayers that Letter 6419 includes the wrong dollar amount that parents received from the boosted child tax credit, which was paid out in monthly installments from July to December. 


The wrong information could have serious implications for some households' finances: Because at least half of the enhanced credit will be paid out as a lump sum when parents receive their 2021 tax return, recipients need to keep the letter and use it to accurately reconcile the credit they already received when filing their taxes this year. The information is pertinent to determining how much more money families receive from the credit when they fill out Schedule 8812 and Form 1040.


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) headquarters building in Washington (AP Photo/J. David Ake/File / AP Newsroom)

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig told reporters during a call on Monday that the scope of the error is likely limited, and maintained that he was "highly confident that it is nowhere near millions or hundreds of thousands." Rettig said the IRS will release more information on the matter once it becomes available. 

It's possible the people who received the erroneous letters could be a small group of taxpayers who recently moved or changed bank accounts in December. Ken Corbin, the IRS chief taxpayer experience officer, said Monday the child tax credit checks may have been undeliverable in those cases, or bounced from bank accounts.  

"Then the letters may not reflect what the taxpayer actually received," Corbin said. 

People who received the monthly payments can also check the amount of their payments by using the CTC Update Portal.

If families opted out of the monthly payments, they can claim the full amount of the child tax credit on their 2021 federal tax return. This also applies to families who don't normally need to file a tax return. 

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig testifies on his agency's budget before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Capitol Hill April 9, 2019. (Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein  / Reuters Photos)

The IRS is already warning taxpayers of a potentially challenging tax season and has urged individuals to file their tax returns electronically in order to receive the refund within 21 days as the agency wades through a deluge of 6 million unprocessed paper returns. 


Democrats temporarily expanded the child tax credit in early 2021 as part of a sweeping coronavirus relief package, but it expired at the end of the year. Under the expansion, low- and middle-income parents could receive up to $3,000 for every child ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 for every child under age 6. The payments were income-based and began to phase out for individuals earning more than $75,000 and married couples earning more than $150,000.

The first half was delivered in monthly payments from July to December with $300 for children under the age of 6 and $250 for those ages 6 to 17, but the last check was mailed out last month. The second half will be delivered as a lump sum when families file their 2021 tax returns in the spring. The IRS said that 36 million families received the payments each month, or about 60 million children.