The deadline is drawing near for North Carolina parents to apply for $335 grants meant to offset the cost of remote learning, but a tax software error may have caused hundreds of thousands of parents to be ineligible for the grant.
The General Assembly set aside $440 million last month in its latest round of COVID-19 pandemic relief to help working parents struggling to secure child care while schools are closed.
Taxpayers who lived in North Carolina the entire 2019 calendar year and qualified for the federal child tax credit automatically will receive the grants, according to the law, which was signed by Gov. Roy Cooper on Sept. 4. According to the North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR), the federal tax credit is granted to certain taxpayers who filed for at least one child 16 years old or younger in the 2019 tax year.
Parents who did not file a 2019 state tax return because their gross income was not more than $10,000 if they are single or $20,000 if they are married can apply for the grant. More than 1 million North Carolinians qualify for the payments, according to the NCDOR. The deadline to apply is Thursday.
Late last month, however, the NCDOR said it found out some tax preparation software tools incorrectly reported tax filers as having no qualifying children that would qualify them for the federal child tax credit. The issue reportedly may have affected about 700,000 people.
“The NCDOR is investigating the issue further and reaching out to tax preparation software vendors to determine which tax preparation software is affected and how widespread the issue may be,” the department said in a statement. “The NCDOR is also reaching out to certified public accountants as well.
“Taxpayers that were allowed a federal child tax credit are advised to review their 2019 Form D-400 as filed and look at line 10a to determine if the return correctly reported a qualifying child,” NCDOR said.
Parents who were affected by the error may file an amended return, 2019 Form D-400, before Thursday.