What is the Child Tax Credit?
The federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) helps families with the cost of raising children. This round of the CTC provides $3,000 a year for each child ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 a year for each child under 6. In other years, the CTC was only $2,000 per child, did not cover children who were 17 and was not available to families with very low or no earnings. Many families with children who normally file taxes started receiving half of this credit in the form of monthly payments in 2021. However, families must file again in 2022 for the 2021 tax year to receive the rest of the credit.
Unless Congress passes a law to make the changes to the CTC permanent, the improvements to the program will expire in 2022.
Who is Eligible for the Child Tax Credit for the 2022 Tax Season?
More families are eligible for this credit than before. See here for full details about eligibility. In summary, those eligible include:
- Families with dependent children 17 or younger with social security numbers; this includes grandparents and other relatives raising children
- Families with very low or no earnings
- Families where the children have a Social Security number and the parent(s) has an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
- Note: Receiving this credit will not change your immigration status or your ability to apply for citizenship. The IRS does not share citizenship information with immigration or any other federal agency. Read more here.
- Families that earn $75,000 for single filers, $150,000 for married couples and $112,500 for heads of households can receive the full credit. After that, each $1,000 of income above these levels reduces your CTC amount by $50
You can still claim the full credit even if you didn’t file last year or receive the monthly payments.
How Do I Claim the Child Tax Credit?
You must file a tax return to claim the Child Tax Credit. Filers with low income can use these resources below for help filing taxes:
- Families who are not required to file taxes because they had low earnings or no earnings in 2021 can file a simple tax return through the free, IRS-approved org (Spanish speakers can use GetCTC.org/es). Families not required to file taxes are those who earned less than $12,000 in 2021 for a single head of household or less than $25,000 for couples filing jointly. GetCTC.org is available this year through November 15, 2022.
- See if there is a free in-person or virtual VITA site near you by calling 211 or clicking here. These IRS-sponsored programs provide services to those who generally earn $58,000 or less a year
- File your taxes for free and with online support through these IRS-approved services and online software
- Try to collect all necessary documents before starting your virtual or in-person tax filing
- View “What to Bring to a Tax Appointment” Check List
- If you’re experiencing tax issues, find your local Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) for free legal help on tax issues with the IRS. You can also make an appointment with your local Taxpayer Assistance Center
- Note: The IRS will NEVER contact you by phone, email, text message or social media to request personal information—especially banking details—or ask you to provide a “processing” fee.
How Can I Receive My CTC With (or Without) a Bank Account?
The fastest way to receive your CTC and other tax credits is through direct deposit. It is safe and easy. You can use:
- Your bank account information
- A reloadable debit card
- A debit card through Cash App, PayPal or Venmo
If you prefer, you can still request a paper check, but this is the slowest option.
Why Is CTC Awareness Important?
The American Rescue Plan, which passed in March 2021, temporarily expanded the CTC. For the first time under the law, families with very low or no earnings can receive full payments. However, about 159,000 children in families across Georgia, including about 59,000 newborns living in families with low income, are at risk of not accessing the expanded credit because the families do not traditionally file and may not know they are eligible. Furthermore, immigrant families may be hesitant to file and receive the credit because of the now-reversed Trump-era public charge rule amendments.
The expanded CTC can provide much-needed cash income to help families struggling to put food on the table, cover rent or pay for an unexpected expense. Unless Congress passes a law to make the changes to the CTC permanent, the improvements to the program will expire in 2022. To ensure as many eligible families as possible take advantage of the CTC, organizations and institutions must continuously educate the community about the program.