IRS chief says the agency on track to start monthly payments of the child tax credit July 1

Charles Rettig
Charles Rettig.

  • IRS chief Charles Rettig said the agency was on track to start monthly child tax credit payments on July 1.
  • The measure forms a key part of Biden’s recent stimulus law.
  • Democrats want to make the monthly direct payments permanent for parents.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

IRS chief Charles Rettig told lawmakers on Tuesday that the agency was on course to start monthly payments of the child tax credit within a few months.

Asked whether the organization was ready to issue monthly checks on July 1, Rettig responded: “We are.”

He also added the agency was gearing up to roll out a new portal to allow parents to sign up and get the cash in advance. Currently, people receive it in a lump sum after filing their taxes every year.

“We will launch by July 1 with the absolute best product we are able to put together,” Rettig said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing. “We are trying to get it as user-friendly as possible, but we will launch by July 1.”

However, Rettig said the agency was ready to delay the portal’s rollout if any technical issues emerged that could lead to fraud. “If we are not prepared, we will not launch. We’re not going to risk our systems,” he said.

Rettig also said the IRS was grappling with 1,500 calls per second, and it’s still trying to bring onboard more employees to shrink their backlog of tax returns.

The one-year child tax credit measure was authorized as part of President Joe Biden’s stimulus law in mid-March. It will provide a $3,600-per-child benefit to parents with children age 5 and under through “periodic payments.” It will be $3,000 for each child between 6 and 17.

Democrats want to enable the distribution of monthly checks as well, and to make it permanent.

But many GOP lawmakers oppose it. Some are starting to raise concerns over possible waste and fraud, such as Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Mike Kelly, another senior Republican.

“The new CTC and other provisions in ARP fail to learn from lessons of the past, are not targeted to pandemic relief, and risk the loss of billions of taxpayer dollars in fraudulent and improper payments,” the pair wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to the Biden administration.

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Biden poised to sign final stimulus package with $1,400 checks within days

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden at the White House.

  • Biden appears to be on course to sign a massive $1.9 trillion stimulus bill within days.
  • House Democrats are set to vote on a final version of the bill late on Tuesday.
  • Biden said $1,400 stimulus checks would start going out once the bill is signed.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

President Joe Biden is on course to sign a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan within days, marking his first major legislative achievement nearly two months into his administration.

The Senate approved the massive rescue package on Saturday after a marathon day of voting. Now the House is expected to vote on the bill in its final form late on Tuesday, after it makes a stop at the Rules Committee. Democrats are rushing to enact the bill ahead of a March 14 deadline for the end of enhanced unemployment benefits.

House Democrats hold a five-seat majority, the slimmest in decades for the lower chamber. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has vowed to approve the rescue bill quickly.

It would provide $1,400 stimulus payments for most taxpayers; $300 weekly federal jobless aid through early September; fund vaccine distribution and testing; an expanded child tax credit; and money for state and local governments.

However, the bill contains some notable differences from the one House Democrats cleared a week ago, which requires some finagling in the Rules Committee. The new legislation does not include a $15 minimum wage, after a Senate official ejected it last month, and it cuts federal unemployment benefits to $300 weekly instead of $400. The duration of unemployment benefits is actually longer than the House version of the bill, running through September 6, but shorter than an earlier Senate proposal to run through October 3.

Despite early concerns that these changes could prompt a revolt among progressives, they still appear to support the rescue package. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the final bill has “retained its core bold, progressive elements.”

“Importantly, despite the fact that we believe any weakening of the House provisions were bad policy and bad politics, the reality is that the final amendments were relatively minor concessions,” Jayapal said in a Saturday statement.

Jayapal also said in a tweet that she believed the stimulus serves as a “down-payment on the $3-to-$4.5 trillion in stimulus,” suggesting progressives will continue pressing for ambitious spending.

Biden said on Saturday that the federal government would start sending stimulus payments “this month” as he touted parts of the bill that are broadly popular with voters. He also said the legislation strongly resembles the initial one he proposed in early January.

“I don’t think any of the compromises have in any way fundamentally altered the essence of what I put in the bill in the first place,” Biden said on Saturday.

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