HOUSTON - Tax season isn't over for families who haven't yet filed a return but want to take advantage of new child tax credit payments.
The line wrapped around the Mickey Leland Federal Building on Saturday morning wasn’t for concert tickets. Instead, employees of the Internal Revenue Service were in town from Austin.
"We've been trying and trying for weeks to call. They just don't answer," says George Mercado who has been trying to resolve an unusual tax bill he has been getting in the mail.
Despite the mix of problems shared by people in line, the free tax prep day which is being held in major cities across the nation, is to help those who qualify for the Advance Child Tax Credit payments provided through the American Rescue Plan.
"[It’s] so I can pay off debt of me and my daughter and catch up on some things," says mother Brooklyn Brooks.
But thousands who can get the early payouts could miss out if they choose not to file a return.
"If you don't have a certain level of earned income, you don't have a filing requirement, but because of this credit you want to file," explains Charlotte Kieliszek, director of field assistance for IRS Area 3. "The Child Tax Credit is now available with different requirements, so people who would not have previously qualified for it, do."
Automated deposits start July 15 and could mean serious diaper dough for parents. For children ages 6-17, you can get up to $3,000. For kids under the age of 6, $3600. Half would come with your 2021 tax return, the other half would be paid out over monthly payments of $250 or $300.
It's not too late to use the IRS Free-file site, an online tax service, or tax office to make sure your info is in. The IRS also opened an online portal where non-filers can submit basic information for payments.
Remember, mailed checks can take longer. On the same webpage, you can also find out if you're eligible and for how much.
"If they do it after a certain point in July, they won't get the July payment, but they will get the August payment," says Kieliszek.
Any payments you don't get this year can be claimed on your 2021 tax return. As for those other tax problems, Kieliszek says although those who need to file have priority, they aren't turning people away from this filing day or the next when they return July 10.
To find out more about the Child Tax Credit, click HERE.