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Parents, do not throw away your IRS Letter 6419. It is critical to filing your 2021 taxes.

The IRS is urging recipients to hold on to the letter as it contains information that's crucial when filing your 2021 taxes.

Parents, do not throw away your IRS Letter 6419. It is critical to filing your 2021 taxes.
Cover Image Source: The Internal Revenue Service headquarters building appeared to be mostly empty on April 27, 2020, in the Federal Triangle section of Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Tax season officially kicks off on January 24. Which means, it's almost time for parents who did not opt out of child tax credit money last year to get the remaining amount. However, to ensure you get the money, you'll need to keep an eye out for one key letter, Letter 6419, which will be sent to you by the Internal Revenue Service. According to CNET, the IRS said in early January that it had started mailing copies of Letter 6419 in late December to those who received advance child tax credit money in 2021. While many parents are yet to spot this letter in the mail, the agency has said that it will continue to send more letters throughout January and is urging recipients to hold on to the notice as it is critical when filing your 2021 taxes.


What information does Letter 6419 include?

Issued by the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, Letter 6419 is a black-and-white one-page letter with an IRS logo on the top left corner. It spells out two key components that were used to calculate your advance child tax credit payments in 2021: the total dollar amount of money you received for the advance child tax credit payments over six months in 2021 and the number of qualifying dependents that were taken into account to calculate your total amount. Before filing your tax return, you'll need to cross-check the information to make sure it's still correct.


According to USA Today, the IRS notes that "families who received advance payments need to file a 2021 tax return and compare the advance payments they received in 2021 with the amount of the child tax credit they can properly claim on their 2021 tax return." Parents who welcomed a baby in 2021 did not receive advance payments last year but can now claim that child on their 2021 income tax returns to receive money.

How many letters will couples who file a joint return receive?

According to April Walker, lead manager for tax practice and ethics with the American Institute of CPAs, the IRS will send two letters—both of which should be saved—to married couples filing a joint return. Therefore, it is important that you keep BOTH letters. "If you file a joint return for tax year 2021, you must add the amounts in Box 1 from both Letters 6419 and enter the total amount on Schedule 8812," a sample copy posted online at states.


What if you never get a letter from the IRS?

As the IRS is still working to send them out, you might receive yours by the time you're ready to file your taxes. However, in the event that you don't, you'll need to either use the online child tax credit portal to your confirm child tax credit information or contact the IRS directly via mail or by phone at 1-800-829-1040. If you contact the IRS via mail, expect to wait at least 30 days for a response. Although registering for an account on the IRS website takes a bit of time and patience, once you're in, you will have all the necessary information for the child tax credit as well as other useful IRS information for preparing your taxes.

Why is Letter 6419 important?

You're likely to face lengthy delays in processing your income tax return, if you lose your letter 6419 and are unable to come up with a number that exactly matches the IRS files. This is specifically stated in Schedule 8812 as: "Caution: If the amount on this line doesn’t match the aggregate amounts reported to you (and your spouse if filing jointly) on your Letter(s) 6419, the processing of your return will be delayed." According to Antonio Brown, a CPA in Flint, Michigan, it is important to refer to Letter 6419 before filing a return as in some cases, a taxpayer could have received a different amount for one child under age 5 and another amount for dependents aged 6 through 17. Some families could be confused about how much they received. "The letter breaks down how much was received and how many dependents it was for," Brown said. 

Will you receive more money from the child tax credit?

According to the IRS, "if you are eligible for the child tax credit, but did not receive advance child tax credit payments, you can claim the full credit amount when you file your 2021 tax return during the 2022 tax filing season." You will need to file Schedule 8812 to claim any of your remaining money for the child tax credit and Letter 6419 will help you accurately report the total dollar amount you've already received upfront in 2021. The total child tax credit for 2021 amounts to up to $3,600 per child for ages 5 and younger, and up to $3,000 for each qualifying dependent from age 6 through 17. Therefore, if—for example—you have one child aged 3, you could have received $300 a month from July through December for a total of up to $1,800. When you file your 2021 federal income tax return, you could potentially be owed another chunk of money, up to $1,800. However, the actual amount you'd receive now for your child tax credit is based on your 2021 income.

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