How To Opt Out Of The Expanded Child Tax Credit In 72 Easy Steps

How To Opt Out Of The Expanded Child Tax Credit In 72 Easy Steps

This was my actual experience attempting to opt out of the monthly welfare payments that have the potential to wreak havoc with our family’s year-end tax bill.
Heather Smith
By

We hold these truths to be contradictorily evident: Requiring proof of identification for the sake of voting privilege is an overwhelming burden. Requiring proof of identification to log onto the IRS website for the sake of opting out from the expanded child tax credit is a mere necessity.

By “proof of identification,” the IRS has some hefty standards in mind. What follows is, I do solemnly aver, not made up. This was my actual experience attempting to opt out of the monthly welfare payments that have the potential to wreak havoc with our family’s year-end tax bill.

  1. Mid-June: Receive official letter from IRS informing you of the newly enacted child tax credit (CTC), which will begin paying out the following month. Also noted in letter is the website, available in late June, where you may opt out.
  2. June 28: Contact tax preparer to confirm that it would be highly advisable to opt out of the CTC.
  3. June 29: Go to IRS website and discover that you must create an “ID.me” login.
  4. Enter hordes of personal information including name, address, email, phone, date of birth, and Social Security number.
  5. Receive a text with a one-time passcode (OTP) to proceed.
  6. Enter OTP and proceed to upload documents for proof of identity.
  7. Realize anew that the world assumes all inhabitants own a smartphone, and search the small print for workarounds of how to complete the necessary tasks without one.
  8. Scan copies of driver’s license, Social Security card, birth certificate, and marriage certificate.
  9. Since you’ve spent so long scanning documents, be asked to log in again to ID.me, which requires receiving an OTP.
  10. Enter the OTP received via text.
  11. Upload scanned documents.
  12. Receive message that scan of your driver’s license is illegible.
  13. Scrutinize seemingly clear scan, and try scanning again.
  14. Inactive too long, must log in by receiving an OTP.
  15. Enter the OTP received via text.
  16. Continue to receive message that driver’s license is illegible.
  17. Try to use webcam to take a photo of driver’s license.
  18. Inactive too long, must log in by receiving an OTP.
  19. Enter the OTP received via text.
  20. Stop to delete the growing list of expired OTP texts.
  21. Receive message that driver’s license is still unacceptable.
  22. Scream in frustration, alerting your husband to the escalating situation.
  23. Have husband use his smartphone to take photos of driver’s license, email them to you, then upload to computer and download to ID.me.
  24. Finally receive acceptance of driver’s license image.
  25. Stare forlornly at screen now requesting to do a selfie scan of your face.
  26. Activate laptop webcam, awkwardly hold laptop at arm’s length, stand really still and watch bizarre green/purple/black moving scan of your face.
  27. Receive message that scan could not be completed due to movement.
  28. Awkwardly hold laptop at arm’s length, hold your breath, and activate scan again.
  29. Receive message that lighting is not sufficient.
  30. Go to a better-lighted room.
  31. Activate selfie scan again.
  32. Receive message that lighting is too bright.
  33. Go to another room and try again.
  34. Receive message that due to too many failed attempts at selfie scan you will need to have a video conference with an ID.me representative.
  35. Enter the “waiting room” queue for a video conference, estimated wait time 26 minutes.
  36. Try to work on other semi-useful projects while watching the wait-time estimate bounce between 26 and 27 minutes for about half an hour.
  37. When the wait-time reaches the single digits, receive an email rejecting scans of birth certificate (because “a photo of the original document is required, NO photocopies, scans, or screenshots”) and marriage certificate (because “the name on the document does not match the name submitted for verification,” which . . . is kind of the point of submitting this document, isn’t it?).
  38. Frantically use the webcam to take a photo of your birth certificate.
  39. Upload photograph of birth certificate.
  40. Receive email informing you that you need to replace the birth certificate with some other documentation because “the name on the document does not match the name submitted for verification”—which was the whole reason for submitting the marriage certificate, too, right?
  41. Let out enough exasperated mutterings that your husband comes and tells you to leave it for now and go to bed. Argue that you’ve been working on this for hours and waiting for this video call, and if you can just finish this then it will be done, and you’re going to finish.
  42. Search the list of acceptable documents and take photos of medical insurance cards to replace the birth certificate.
  43. Upload new documentation.
  44. June 30: Look at the clock, wondering how it can be past midnight and you are still working to convince the government not to send you money.
  45. Receive a phone call from an ID.me agent, giving you login information for a Zoom meeting.
  46. Try fruitlessly to get Zoom to work.
  47. Plunge into despair as you hear the representative say you will have to figure that problem out and then rejoin the waiting room.
  48. Wail an incoherent stream of gibberish at the phone, most likely including the phrases, “No! That’s not okay! It is after midnight, and I’ve been working on this for hours!”
  49. Hang up.
  50. Go to bed.
  51. July 1: Having regained composure, and better braced for the process, rejoin the “waiting room” to try the video conference again.
  52. Wait for around half an hour.
  53. Carefully follow the instructions of the ID.me representative, trying to begin a Zoom call.
  54. After several failed attempts, realize your laptop Zoom app seems to be malfunctioning.
  55. Give up on ID.me verification for another night.
  56. July 2: Find out that if you haven’t opted out of the CTC by June 28, it’s too late to avoid receiving the first check.
  57. Sigh and take a break for the holiday weekend.
  58. July 8: Uninstall and reinstall Zoom app.
  59. Test Zoom to confirm that it is working.
  60. July 9: Enter the too-familiar ID.me “waiting room.”
  61. Blink in shock that the estimated wait time is five minutes.
  62. Receive an immediate phone call from an ID.me representative with instructions for joining a video call—through their webpage, no mention of Zoom whatsoever.
  63. Contain the rising sense of frustrated irony.
  64. Repeat verbally all personal identification information entered in step 4 (pausing to question the propriety of stating your Social Security number on a recorded video call, but giving in from sheer desperation more than due to the agent’s reassurances).
  65. Show documentation via video call (including previously rejected birth certificate).
  66. Congratulations! You have completed your ID.me verification!
  67. Log into IRS website with new ID.me credentials, which requires sending OTP.
  68. Enter OTP received via text.
  69. Proceed through various pages confirming that YES, you really do want to opt out of the CTC for the rest of this year, and YES, you really do understand that this is an irreversible decision.
  70. Congratulations! You have opted out of the CTC!
  71. Read notification that even though you are married, filing jointly, you have only opted out of “your” half of the CTC, and to avoid payments entirely, your spouse will now need to go through the process of opting out too.
  72. Gape in disbelief.

And there you have it: the simple, safe, electronic process for opting out of the CTC. You can see from this illustration that we obviously do not have a socialistic government intent upon redistributing wealth as it sees fit and making its citizens dependent upon such unearned money. Certainly not! You absolutely have the option of foregoing governmental payments if you so choose.

Or perhaps your concern is over how the government can so ignore the concept of family that it treats married couples as though they have no cooperative interest in the finances of the household or the well-being of their children. Surely you do not think that the government would subtly want to destroy the family as a unit of society and replace it entirely with isolated individuals who would be easier to indoctrinate and manipulate?

Should you find such dystopian thoughts clouding your mind, sweep them away with the happy cha-ching of cold, hard cash (or at least printed government checks backed by absolutely nothing) bolstering your bank account. If the process of opting out of the CTC illustrates anything at all, it is that what is truly important is not the consideration of big life questions such as the nature of government, family, or the happy life, but simply the security of the present and a small slice of your own personal future. Focus on you.

Or if you have children, focus on how expensive they are and how much you deserve money to pay someone else to take care of them. With that socially acceptable mindset, you might realize you don’t really want to opt out of the CTC after all.

Heather Smith is an advocate of classical Lutheran education and holds a BA in Elementary Education and an MA in English. Her writing may also be found at www.sisterdaughtermotherwife.com.

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