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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.
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.