Are you expecting a tax return this year? If so, it’s time to start considering common errors, plus one glitch concerning the child tax credit affecting some fax filers. The IRS is warning tax filers that the current backlog is already causing delays, so when filing, it’s essential that your returns are accurate to prevent a refund delay. 

The IRS estimates over 160 million individual tax returns to be filed this tax season and delays are likely. However, if taxpayers take specific steps, the IRS says you can expect a refund within 21 days of filing

Here is what you need to know about your 2021 tax return and the tax mistakes to avoid to ensure a timely refund. 

A Child Tax Credit Glitch May Trigger Refund Delays 

As of January 24, 2022, the IRS began accepting 2021 tax returns — and while tax preparation may not yet be on your radar, it should be, especially if there was a discrepancy with your Child Tax Credit amounts.

For starters, the IRS has warned filers that there is still a backlog of past tex returns affected by the pandemic. As of December 4, 2021, approximately six million individual returns remained unprocessed. 

To avoid a tax refund delay for your 2021 return, the IRS urges you to pay extra attention to IRS Letter 6419. This letter outlines how many advanced Child Tax Credit payments you received and the number of children used to calculate that amount. Some tax filers are complaining that the amounts listed are incorrect on Letter 6419 that they’ve received so far.

This letter includes two key components:

  • Box 1 tells you the total amount of money you received for the advance Child Tax Credit payments from July-December 2021. You will need to enter this amount from Schedule 8812.
  • Box 2 lists the number of qualifying children taken into account to calculate the advance payments. 

This glitch is not affecting everyone and might be an issue among taxpayers who moved or changed bank accounts in December. Also, the IRS is asking Letter 6475 recipients to double-check their third Economic Impact Payment amounts to ensure accuracy.

What to Do Next To Avoid a Tax Refund Delay

If you received Letter 6419, save it. You’ll need it to work through your 2021 tax situation. If you’re married and filing a joint return, you should receive two letters — save both. Confirm the information by looking at your bank records. You can also check your payment amounts using your Online Account

Also, be aware of some of the common and costly tax mistakes to avoid a tax return delay. When in doubt, it’s critical you seek professional advice. 

  • Missing or inaccurate SSN
  • Incorrect filing status 
  • Math errors
  • Mistakes figuring credits and deductions
  • Unsigned forms

You can review the full list here

If you have questions, it will be challenging to reach the IRS. During the fiscal year 2021, the IRS received a record 282 million calls, yet only answered 32 million (11 percent) of them. The idea here is not to have to contact the IRS. Taking a proactive approach now means avoiding complications later. Now is the time to speak with your tax professional. 

How You File Matters

Step one is to file electronically to avoid delays and step two is to ensure your return is accurate. You need to pay extra special attention to the advance payment amounts for the child tax credit and the third stimulus payment, in addition to all other critical information on your return. To ensure greater accuracy and the maximum tax refund, seek professional assistance. 

Contact the CPA Nerds if you have more questions about the Child Tax Credit letter.