Tax Return: Stimulus Money and Child Tax Credit Could Lead to Major Delays if Reported Incorrectly

Close up of a mother going through her financials.
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Although the Internal Revenue Service is working hard to clear a backlog of tax returns, your tax refund could be delayed if you made any errors — from typos to misinformation — in claiming stimulus funds.

For instance, if you forgot you received the recovery rebate credit in 2021 and try to claim it on your tax return, your refund could be held up. Similarly, if you forgot the amount of advance Child Tax Credit you received — and don’t have Letter 6419, which helps you reconcile your advance CTC payments — you could claim the wrong amount of CTC on your 2022 return.

If you make a mistake on your tax return and the IRS owes you a refund, tax experts told The Detroit Free Press you should wait before taking any action. Chief tax officer at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Mark Steber explained, “No new tax return, no amended tax return, no paper filed tax return. The IRS is managing these.”

The bad news, however, is that you could face delays of six to 12 weeks before the IRS spots and fixes the error and issues your refund. That’s why the IRS advises taxpayers not to count on their tax refund check to arrive within 21 days or to bank on the money for a major, timely purchase or to pay bills that may be due.

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If you owe the IRS money, however, it could be even worse. Making a mistake on your tax return could end with you owing the IRS money, facing penalties and interest on your tax bill if you don’t pay it by Apr. 18. If that is the case, Steber advised filing an amended return which correctly reflects your tax liability and paying the bill before the deadline.

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