Did you know that Congress significantly expanded the Child Tax Credit?
The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is a tax benefit that helps families with the costs of raising children. While the CTC has existed for over two decades, it was significantly expanded in 2021. This year, you can get up to $3,600 per child under six and $3,000 per child ages 6-17. The credit is smaller for single parents earning over $75,000 and married couples earning over $150,000. Nearly every family under those income levels receives the full amount. You are eligible for the full CTC payments even if you earn very little or no money, and even if you don’t usually file taxes.
The Mississippi Economic Inclusion Coalition is a group of organizations united to educate community on economic issues and advocate for economic equity for all Mississippians. MEIC is working diligently to ensure all Mississippians are aware of this opportunity and know exactly how to claim their child tax credit this year.
To claim your credit you will need to file a tax return. If you don’t usually file taxes, use the GetCTC simplified tax filing tool to claim your Child Tax Credit and any missing amount of your third stimulus payment. This form usually takes about 15 minutes to complete, and you won’t need any tax documents.
So, we have answers.
To get the Child Tax Credit (CTC) you have to file a tax return. Whether or not you received monthly CTC payments last year, and whether or not you filed taxes in the last few years or at all, filing a tax return this year is the right next step to get your CTC payments.
If you received advance monthly payments in 2021 then you can file a tax return to get the rest of your payments (generally, $1,800 per younger child and $1,500 per older child). If you did not receive monthly payments in 2021 then you can file a tax return to get your total CTC payments (generally, $3,600 per younger child and $3,000 per older child).
You can file a tax return for free with GetYourRefund.
Only one tax return can claim a child in any given tax year. Sometimes two different households try to claim the same child because they are trying to share payments, claiming rights are unclear, or there is foul play.
What you do next depends on when someone else claimed your child.
If someone claimed your child last year (in 2021 on their 2020 tax return) and prevented you from getting Child Tax Credit (CTC) monthly payments, the most important thing is to file quickly this year. If you file a tax return before the other person claiming your child, you will receive the full CTC amount (including all of the monthly payments you missed out on last year).
If you try to file a tax return this year and find that someone has already claimed your child and you wish to contest the claim to the IRS in order to receive your payments, the process is more complicated. First, you have to mail a paper copy of your return to the IRS. Next, the IRS will begin a process to determine who is allowed to claim this dependent. This process can be difficult for you and for whoever else claimed your dependent. If you want to pursue this process, see here for more info: https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams/identity-theft-dependents. A Volunteer Income Tax site or the Taxpayer Advocate Service can assist you with the process.
You don’t need any income to qualify for the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and receiving payments from other benefits programs does not impact your eligibility.
You can file a tax return now to claim the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The CTC for tax year 2021 is up to $3,600 per child under 6, and $3,000 per child age 6-17.
If you received monthly CTC payments last year you will only get your remaining CTC amount when you file a tax return this year. So, if you have a 2 year old, and you got six months of $300 payments last year, you already received $1,800 of your CTC. When you file in 2022, you will receive the other half—another $1,800.
There are currently no more monthly payments of the CTC during 2022. When you file, you will receive the remaining amount in one payment.
Most families with children under 18 qualify for the Child Tax Credit (CTC). To qualify for CTC:
- To receive the full amount of money, you must earn less than $75,000 as a single parent, or $150,000 as a married couple. If you earn less than $240,000 as a parent, or $440,000 as a married couple, you can still receive some CTC.
- You must have lived in the United States for more than six months in 2021. (If not, you might be eligible for a smaller CTC.)
- The child you are claiming must be your child, your grandchild, your sibling, your niece/nephew or your great-niece/nephew. Foster relatives, step relatives, and half-relatives also qualify.
- Your child needs a Social Security Number (SSN). You, the parent, need an SSN or an Individual TaxPayer Identification Number (ITIN).
- Your child must have been less than 18 at the end of 2021. (Born on or after January 1, 2004.)
- Your child needs to have lived with you for at least six months in 2021.
- Your child must not be financially independent, meaning they can not pay for more than half of their own living expenses.
- You must be the person best situated to claim the child. Generally, parents can claim children before non-parents; parents who spend more time with the child can claim before parents who spend less; and non-parents who spend more time with the child can claim before non-parents who spend less.
To be eligible for the Child Tax Credit (CTC), each child claimed must have a Social Security Number (SSN) and each parent must have either a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identity Number (ITIN).
If you do not currently have an Individual Taxpayer Identity Number (ITIN), but want to claim the Child Tax Credit for your children, you can apply for an ITIN with the support of a certified tax preparer using GetYourRefund.