A SINGLE mother is forced to choose between buying her daughter Christmas gifts and paying rent this year due to a child tax problem.
Rebekah Landin, 28, who lives with her four-year-old daughter Olivia in Michigan, has so far missed $720 in prepayments on child tax credits.
She told The Sun that she received $360 in both August and September, with the higher monthly payments reflecting the fact that she did not receive any in July.
However, since the last payment, her account now states that she is “pending” and that she has not received credit for October and November.
She also fears that on December 15, when millions of American families receive their last advance in 2021, she will not see any cash.
Rebekah, who works in a tobacco and vape shop and earns $11 an hour, told The Sun: “Due to the Covid situation, I am having a hard time with bills.
“So when it comes to the tax relief for children, it helped me catch up while providing what Olivia needed.”
However, because of the problem with the child tax credits, Rebekah has decided not to pay rent or certain bills to “give my daughter the Christmas she deserves”.
“It sounds terrible, but I grew up in a poor family with my mother a single parent of four children.
“And I know what it’s like when you wake up and your mom has to tell you she couldn’t buy Christmas presents because she couldn’t afford them.
“I don’t want to do that to Olivia, even if it puts me in a hole and hurts my credit score.
Rebekah estimates she earns between $700 and $800 a week at the tobacconist’s, which equates to a pre-tax income of up to $3,200 a month.
She wants to work at least 40 hours a week, but last month got Covid, which left her with a whole month’s pay.
She said: “The whole month of October was the worst I’ve ever had, I couldn’t pay a cent in bills.
“In addition, I was told by the IRS that I don’t get a child discount, so I knew Christmas was ruined.”
Due to the many problems, Rebekah does not have enough money to buy food for herself, although she receives $200 a month in food aid for her daughter.
In 2019, she had an income of $16,000 from a waitressing job plus $18,000 from unemployment benefits during the year when the business was later closed due to Covid.
She said she has filed taxes for “years”, but the IRS told her it is reassessing them.
The IRS added that if the “pending” note in her account doesn’t clear before the final payment is set, she must claim the child tax credits next year.
The IRS declined to comment when The Sun contacted them.
It’s because a federal law prohibits federal employees from discussing the tax matters of specific taxpayers.
Who is eligible for a child discount?
Any household with children who qualified for the final $1,400 stimulus check will receive the child credit in cash.
The maximum credit is available to taxpayers with an adjusted adjusted gross income (AGI) of:
- $75,000 or less for singles,
- $112,500 or less for heads of household and
- $150,000 or less for married couples filing joint returns and qualified widows and widowers.
If you earn more, the additional amount above the original $2,000 credit — either $1,000 or $1,600 per child — is reduced by $50 for every $1,000 in modified AGI.
The child tax credits are worth $3,600 per child under the age of six, $3,000 per child between the ages of six and 17, and $50 for students under age 24.
Combined with the $1,400 checks and other items, it could cut the number of children living in poverty by more than half, according to Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy.
Time is running out for parents to waive the December final payment.
Plus, we’ll explain what you can do if you haven’t received your November payment yet.
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