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A SINGLE mom is being forced to choose between buying Christmas gifts for her daughter and paying rent this year due to a child tax credit issue.

Rebekah Landin, 28, who lives with her four-year-old daughter Olivia in Michigan, has missed out on $720 in advance child tax credit payments so far.

3Rebekah Landin says she's being forced to choose between buying Christmas gifts for her daughter and paying rent this year due to a child tax credit issueCredit: Rebekah Landin 3The 28-year-old tobacconist has missed out on $720 in advance child tax credit payments so farCredit: Rebekah Landin

She told The Sun she received $360 for both August and September, with the larger monthly payments a reflection of her not getting one in July.

However, since the last payment, her account now says eligibility is "pending" and she didn't receive any credits for neither October nor November.

She also fears she won't see any cash on December 15, when millions of American families will receive their last advance payment in 2021.

Rebekah, who works at a tobacco and vape store earning $11 an hour, told The Sun: "Due to the situation with Covid, I've been struggling a lot with bills.

"So when it comes to the child tax credit, it was helping me catch up at the same time as provide for what Olivia needed."

However, due to the issue with the child tax credits, Rebekah has decided not to pay rent or certain bills to give "my daughter the Christmas she deserves".

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"It sounds terrible, but I grew up in a poor family with my mom a single parent of four kids.

"And I know how it is when you wake up and your mom has to tell you she couldn't buy Christmas gifts because she couldn't afford it.

"I don't want to do that to Olivia, even if it puts me in a hole and damages my credit score.

3Rebekah fears she won't get the final child tax credit payment in DecemberCredit: Rebekah Landin

Rebekah estimates that she earns between $700 and $800 a week at the tobacco store, which works out as a pre-tax income of up to $3,200 a month.

She aims to work at least 40 hours a week, but caught Covid last month meaning she missed a whole month's wages.

She said: "The entire month of October was the worst thing I've ever had, I couldn't pay a single dime towards bills.

"Then on top of that I had the IRS telling me I'm not getting my child tax credit, so I knew Christmas was ruined."

The flurry of issues has left Rebekah without enough money to buy food for herself, although she's receiving $200 a month in food assistance for her daughter.

In 2019, she had income of $16,000 during the year from a waitressing job plus $18,000 from unemployment benefits when the firm later shut down due to Covid.

She said she's filed taxes "for years", yet the IRS told her it's reviewing them again.

The IRS added that if the "pending" note on her account doesn't go before the last payment is set to land, she'll have to claim the child tax credits next year.

The IRS didn't want to comment when contacted by The Sun.

It comes as a federal law prohibits federal employees from discussing the tax matters of specific taxpayers.

Who's eligible for child tax credits?

Every household with children that qualified for the latest $1,400 stimulus check is set to receive the child credit cash.

The maximum credit is available to taxpayers with a modified 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 a joint return and qualified widows and widowers.

If you earn more than this, the extra 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 six, $3,000 per child between six and 17 and $50 for college students aged up to 24.

Combined with the $1,400 checks and other items, it could reduce the number of children living in poverty by more than half, according to the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University.

Time is running out for parents to opt out of the final December payment.

Plus, we explain what you can do if you still haven't had your November instalment.

Check if you are eligible for September child tax credit cash
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Tags: child tax credit child tax credit she couldn’t she won’t ’t want the child tax credits the child tax credits ’t afford the child tax credit has missed out food assistance christmas bonus stimulus check eligible or less receive her account credit cash not getting my daughter

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The IRS website will soon require facial recognition to log in to your account

(CNN Business)The next time you try to log in to the Internal Revenue Service's website you'll be urged to use facial-recognition software to verify you are who you say you are.

The verification process includes taking a picture of a photo ID, like a driver's license or passport, and then taking a video selfie with a smartphone or computer so software can compare the two. It's part of a partnership the IRS has with ID.me, a fast-growing company that uses facial recognition software as part of its identity-verification process.For now, this process is optional if you already have an IRS username and password. But if you don't, and you want to use online tools to request an online tax transcript or see information regarding your tax payments or economic impact payments, you'll need to sign up with ID.me. And starting this summer, those old IRS usernames and passwords will no longer work.
    Want your unemployment benefits? You may have to submit to facial recognition firstAs CNN reported last year, ID.me already verifies identities for more than half of all states' unemployment agencies as well as a growing number of US federal agencies. In addition to the IRS, ID.me works the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration and the US Patent and Trademark Office. The company says it has 70 million users and adds 145,000 new users each day.
      The IRS used ID.me in a more limited capacity last year, verifying people who wanted to opt out of receiving advance child tax credit payments. In November, the IRS announced it was expanding this verification process for all logins, but it is gaining attention and some scrutiny as tax season begins and millions of people visit the agency's site.Read More"I think any plan that inserts a private intermediary into the system for accessing critical information or obtaining benefits from a government agency warrants a lot of scrutiny," said John Davisson, director of litigation and senior counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC.In a statement to CNN Business, the IRS pointed out that it's not necessary to have an online account with the IRS at all. The agency said it "emphasizes taxpayers can pay or file their taxes without submitting a selfie or other information to a third-party identity verification company." (Taxpayers can also, for instance, request a transcript that will come by mail.) "To help protect the security of taxpayers, the IRS uses an identity verification process for accessing IRS' self-help tools such as checking your account online and getting a transcript online," the IRS said in a statement to CNN Business.The rise of ID.meID.me, which has been around for roughly a decade, grew swiftly during the pandemic, largely due to states turning to the company for identity verification for unemployment seekers. The hope was that ID.me, along with its facial-recognition software, would cut down on a surge of fraudulent claims for state and federal benefits that cropped up during the pandemic alongside a tidal wave of authentic unemployment claims.As ID.me has spread to more government services, it has also raised concerns from privacy advocates about how facial recognition technology is seeping into everyday life. Those concerns were renewed this week amid mixed messaging from the company about how its service works. To verify users' identities, ID.me uses a form of facial-recognition technology known as facial verification, or one-to-one facial recognition — similar to the process of unlocking your smartphone with your face.As recently as this week, the company has said it does not use what's known as one-to-many facial recognition. This is the software a police department might use. It attempts to match a photo of a person to ones in a database of faces, and the technology, as used in other services, has been linked to at least several wrongful arrests of Black men."ID.me does not use 1:many facial recognition, which is more complex and problematic," Blake Hall, the founder and CEO of ID.me, said in a statement posted to the company's website this week. Yet in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday, first noted by cybersecurity news site CyberScoop, Hall wrote that the company does use one-to-many facial recognition software "on selfies tied to government programs targeted by organized crime to prevent prolific identity thieves and members of organized crime from stealing the identities of innocent victims en masse."ID.me spokesperson Madison Pappas said the company first uses one-to-one facial recognition for verifying identities of users, and then checks users against an internal database of selfies to look for "prolific attackers and members of organized crime who are stealing multiple identities." People who are matched with a photo in ID.me's database — which Pappas said totals 0.1% of users — are sent to a video chat for verification.In response to Hall's LinkedIn post, digital rights group Fight for the Future called for the IRS to stop the use of facial verification on its website, and for government agencies to end contracts with ID.me.Beyond the privacy concerns, ID.me has also long faced complaints from users who say they have spent hours waiting to have their identities verified via video chat after failing to pass the company's facial recognition step. Some of them, like English teacher Ari Herzog, take to social media in hopes of getting help from the company.Herzog, who's based in the Boston area, already had an IRS online account and said he experienced a nine-day wait to get verified with ID.me in early January, including failed attempts to upload documents, and a long wait for a video call.
        "I saw a message that current logins are going to be required to use this new ID.me system beginning this summer," he said. "So I thought, 'Okay, I might as well get a head start on this; how long could it take?'"Pappas said that in the first three weeks of January, a combination of the Omicron variant and snowstorms in Virginia, where the company's support team is based, cut down its ability to support users. She also said that nine out of 10 ID.me users are automatically verified in under five minutes.

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