The government has launched a pair of new web portals to help families manage and track advance monthly payments of their child tax credits for 2021 under the American Rescue Plan Act.
These online tools are in addition to the recently unveiled non-filer sign-up portal that helps families that don’t normally have to file a tax return to quickly register for the child tax credit. These filers have until July 15 to register, lest they miss out on the opportunity to collect $200 to $300 a month per child through the end of 2021.
The new advance child tax credit eligibility assistant allows all families to determine whether they qualify for the advance payments. If so, they can then go to the child tax credit update portal, where families may verify their eligibility and, if they wish, unenroll, or opt out of receiving the payments so they can receive a lump sum when they file their tax return next year. A Spanish-language version is in the works, the IRS said in a news release.
To qualify for the advance child tax credit, you must have either filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return and claimed the credit on the return; or have given the IRS your information in 2020 to receive economic impact payments using the non-filers tool.
To stay abreast of any changes to the child tax credit program, click here.
In addition to expanding the child tax credit to filers and increasing the amount of the credit for 2021, Congress and the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan also
expands the earned income tax credit to more than 17 million adults not raising children at home who hold essential but low-paid jobs.
The earned income tax credits has earned broad bipartisan support over the years because it’s been shown to be an efficient poverty-fighting tool. Until recently, most adults who aren’t raising children in their homes couldn’t claim the earned income tax credit, and the law completely excluded young workers without children trying to get on their feet in the labor market.
For workers without children, the new law hikes the maximum benefit from roughly $540 to roughly $1,500 and raises the income limit to qualify from about $16,000 to at least $21,000. Non-college-attending adults age 19 to 24 without children and some people at least 65 or older are now eligible.
Advocates say strong participation in the tax credit programs will strengthen the case for making the changes permanent.
However, the low level of awareness at present puts the policy’s long-term ambitions in a state of uncertainty, according to Humanity Forward, a nonprofit organization that fights for equitable economic and policy priorities, which praised the launch of new portals and efforts to publicize them.