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Child tax credit gives families boost

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2003

Last week the Internal Revenue Service began notifying the more than 59,000 Alaska families eligible for the child tax credit advance payment when to expect their checks.

Thanks to a boost in the allow-ance a family will get next year for each child born before 1986 and President George W. Bush's Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconcilia-tion Act of 2003, those who filed for a child tax credit on their 2002 federal income tax return will see a small windfall.

Changes to federal tax laws will increase the child tax credit from a maximum of $600 per child to $1,000 for the 2003 tax season, giving parents as much as an additional $400 for each eligible child. However, the president has made that surplus available now.

"All we're doing is giving you that $400 in advance," said IRS spokesperson Judy Monahan.

She said the advance will impact a tax filer's 2003 return, however, reducing the tax credit by the amount received this year.

"So next year, if you got $400 in advance, you can only get $600," Monahan said.

IRS officials sent out letters Friday informing families of their eligibility, how much they will receive and a timeframe in which to expect a check. The advances will be paid out according to a schedule based on the last two digits in the Social Security number of the primary tax filer.

Social Security numbers ending in 0 through 33 will receive checks by Aug. 8. Those with Social Security numbers ending in the numbers 34 though 66 will be paid by Aug. 15, and those with Social Security numbers that end with 67 through 99 can expect checks by Aug. 22.

Not every family with children will receive a payment in this time frame, however, Monahan said.

"Ninety percent will get it within two weeks of getting the letter," she said. "Ten percent will take longer because they have off-sets."

Taxpayers who owe the IRS, child support or have outstanding federal student loans, will see those balances reduced according to the child tax credit they would otherwise receive.

Those still waiting to file their taxes by the Aug. 15 late filing deadline also will have to wait to receive the tax credit advance, Monahan said.

"If you filed for an automatic extension until Aug. 15, and you're putting in for child tax credits, you'll still get the advance payment, but later," she said.

For more information, go online to www.irs.gov, or call (800) 829-1040 and press "7."



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