November 15th marked the close of simplified filing through GetCTC.org. For months, community partners across the country have been conducting outreach to families about the 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) and how they could claim it on their own through GetCTC.org. Now that the website has closed, you may be wondering what’s next for helping families get the expanded CTC. Here are three things you can do now to ensure families get the 2021 CTC and continue to get an expanded credit into the future:
- Let families know that there is still time to get the full 2021 Child Tax Credit
Families have until April 15, 2025 to claim the 2021 expanded CTC. If a family received monthly CTC payments in 2021, but did not file a 2021 tax return this year, they can still file a 2021 return to claim the remaining amount they are owed, which for most families will be the second half of the credit. If they did not receive monthly payments in 2021 and have not yet filed a 2021 return this year, they can file a return to claim the full CTC. And if they filed a 2021 tax return, but did not claim the CTC, they can amend their 2021 return to claim it. (This flyer shows individuals how to check if their 2021 returns included the CTC.) There are free, high-quality options available to help families claim this money. GetYourRefund.org, which provides free virtual tax assistance, will reopen on January 31st. Most Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, which help families file tax returns for free in-person and virtually, will reopen in January or February. Families should call their local VITA sites in advance to ensure that they can help them file 2021 tax returns, in addition to the current year’s returns. Between now and January, you can let families know that they can still claim this money.
- Help families get ready for the tax filing season
You can help families get ready for the tax filing season launching in early 2023 by:
- Communicating when and where families can access free in-person or virtual tax preparation assistance
- Sharing what documents they will need to file tax returns once the tax filing season reopens
- You can find an IRS list of documents that families will need for each tax year for which they are filing here, under where it says “Gather and organize your tax records.”
- Explaining that if someone’s Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) has expired, they can still claim the 2021 CTC by renewing their ITIN when filing their tax return
- You can find more information on expired ITINs and the renewal process here.
- Share why the expanded CTC is so important
The 2021 expanded CTC kept 5.3 million people above the poverty line, significantly reduced childhood hunger, and helped families pay for basic needs. When the CTC expansion lapsed, child poverty increased by over 40 percent and food insufficiency in households with children increased by 25 percent. Now Congress has the opportunity to expand the CTC through an anticipated tax deal this December. Families are sharing personal stories about what the expanded CTC has meant for them and joining with advocates to point to data that demonstrates the CTC’s significant role in reducing hardship. You can find state-by-state data in the Coalition on Human Needs’ “State Data Resource Library” which provides data on poverty, housing, utilities, nutrition, and other basic needs. This data allows you to compare hardship over time and tell a story about the expanded CTC’s impact on families in your state.