The IRS’s child tax credit portal ‘looks like crap and it’s not really usable’ for low-income Americans trying to get $300 monthly federal payments


IRS Logo viewed on smartphone. Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Democratic efforts to cut child poverty in half could be hobbled by an inconvenient IRS website for non-filers.

"It looks like crap and it’s not really usable," a left-leaning think tank founder told Insider.

Democrats say they want the IRS to overhaul the site ahead of the first monthly checks going out on July 15.

The first advance payments of the bulked-up child tax credit are poised to go out to millions of American families in just over two weeks on July 15 – a key part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus law that took effect in March.

But Democratic-led efforts to reach the poorest families could be hindered. The credit was expanded to reach families with no tax obligations, a group previously shut out from the credit. The problem is, some experts and community groups say, the federal government’s new online portal to reach those who don’t usually file is too complex and inconvenient. For example, it can only be used on a desktop computer and not a smartphone.

"It looks like crap and it’s not really usable," Matt Bruenig, founder of the People’s Policy Project, a left-leaning think-tank, told Insider. "It’s intimidating to use. It doesn’t work in a mobile phone and there’s no Spanish. It’s just really bad."

Bruenig, alongside web designer Jon White, recently created their own version of a child tax credit portal for non-filers to demonstrate how it should actually function. For instance, mobile devices can access it and it’s available in Spanish. Bruenig said it took them roughly 13 hours to set up. Several community groups are warning the portal is "inaccessible" to underserved communities, HuffPost reported. Nearly a third of all US children live in households with no tax burden.