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June 28, 2021

TAS Tax Tips: Beware of scammers offering help with getting advanced child tax credit payments

Beware of scammers offering help with getting advanced child tax credit payments

We know a lot of eligible families are excited to learn how to get part of their Child Tax Credit in advance this year. So are scammers. The Taxpayer Advocate Service wants you to be alert of potential scams that might use that eagerness to harm you and your family by offering to help you get that money.

Here are some common scams to avoid:

Don’t fall for anyone making calls, sending emails, texts or direct messages, or posting on social media offering to help you apply for child tax credit benefits or offering ways to get advanced payment money quicker or get you more money through a larger child tax credit.

Also don’t provide any personal information in response to advertisements, especially any individual or company asking for the following information:

  • Social Security, bank account, debit and credit card numbers or other financial information
  • Home address, work address, or telephone number(s)
  • Any tax return related information

The IRS will never ask for you to pay by cash, gift card, credit card, wire transfer through companies like Money Gram or Western Union, or cryptocurrency to get help with making sure you get the necessary information to receive this payment. IRS, TAS, or other official government tax related information assistance is always free!

Go to the IRS Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts site if you think something sounds too good to be true. They publish warnings about the most recently identified scams, schemes, and phishing efforts. If you do encounter this type of activity, please also visit the Tax Scams – How to Report Them page to report it. Reporting these illegal efforts helps other taxpayers who might not be so savvy, potentially avoid falling prey to them. It also provides a lead for federal agencies to potentially identify and halt those activities, where possible.

2021 Advanced Child Tax Credit general information

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act, families may be eligible for an increased child tax credit amount and may receive advanced payments of the credit for 2021. Eligible families will be receiving monthly payments from the government starting July 15 through December 2021,

The IRS will send these monthly payments directly to people who qualify, based on 2020 or 2019 tax return information on file, through direct deposit, paper checks, or debit cards, with no action required by you to get these payments as long as the IRS has this information on file.

Eligible families will get up to half of their child tax credit in these monthly payments and the other half when they file their 2021 taxes.

More details are coming soon and will be updated on IRS.gov about:

  • how to get official help filing a 2020 tax return to ensure you receive these payments (in addition to what’s already on the IRS Filing and Free File pages);
  • choosing to un-enroll or opt-out (so you get the payment in full instead on your 2021 tax return, in 2022); or
  • changing information the IRS has on file to calculate these advanced payments.

Use ONLY official IRS or TAS websites

For the real deal on information about advanced payments of the Child Tax Credit, refer only to the official IRS.gov Advance Child Tax Credit Payments in 2021 page or IRS News page, or monitor our Taxpayer Advocate Service site, News and Information page or Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tax Relief page.

Additional resources:

TAS

IRS