Child tax credit info online

"Where's My Advance Child Tax Credit?"

Taxpayers eligible for the new Child Tax Credit can check the status of their refund online.

The Internal Revenue Service is offering an electronic service for taxpayers to find out the amount of their advance credit and when the check was mailed.

By clicking on the "Where's My Advance Child Tax Credit?" link on the IRS Web site, taxpayers can enter their Social Security number, filing status and number of extensions and find out information about their credit. For example, the service will indicate the amount of the return and explanations, such as back taxes, for the refund amount, said IRS spokesman Tim Harms.

Launched in mid-July, the service is similar to the IRS "Where's My Refund?" program begun last year. "We had this great tool that worked and millions of people used it," Harms said. "With some adaptation, we could use it for this."

The new site has already had 9 million hits, Harms said. Only about 25 million taxpayers receive Child Tax Credit checks, compared to the 95 million who receive tax refunds each year, he said.

The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 raised the Child Tax Credit to a maximum of $1,000 per child from $600 per child. Eligible taxpayers could get up to $400 for each child claimed on their 2002 returns.

Sharon Cranford, director of public policy and external relations for the National Association of Enrolled Agents, said the IRS has been improving its customer service by posting information and services for the past few years.

"Certainly it will be helpful," she said of the new program. "The more information they get out, the better. Using technology — they can only do more of it."

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