The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service urged families to take advantage of a special online tool that can help them determine whether they qualify for the Child Tax Credit and the special monthly advance payments beginning on July 15.
Available exclusively on IRS.gov, the new Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant, launched recently, is interactive and easy to use. By answering a series of questions about themselves and their family members, a parent or other family member can quickly determine whether they qualify for the credit.
Though anyone can use this tool, it may be particularly useful to families who don’t normally file a federal tax return and have not yet filed either a 2019 or 2020 tax return, according to an IRS news release. Often, these are people who receive little or no income, including those experiencing homelessness, low-income households, and other underserved groups. Using this tool can help them decide whether they should take the next step and register for the Child Tax Credit payments on another new IRS tool unveiled earlier in the month.
“This new tool provides an important first step to help people understand if they qualify for the Child Tax Credit, which is especially important for those who don’t normally file a tax return,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in the release. “The eligibility assistant works in concert with other features on IRS.gov to help people receive this important credit. The IRS is working hard to deliver the expanded Child Tax Credit, and we will be rolling out additional help for taxpayers in the near future. Where possible, please help us help others by distributing CTC information in your communities.”
To help people understand and receive this benefit, the IRS has created a special Advance Child Tax Credit 2021 page at IRS.gov/childtaxcredit2021 designed to provide the most up-to-date information about the credit and the advance payments. Among other things, the page already features a link to both the Non-filer Sign-up Tool, and the Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant, along with a third tool launched earlier this week—the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.
The Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant does not request any personally identifiable information (PII) for any family member. For that reason, its results are not an official determination by the IRS. Though the results are reliable, if the questions are answered accurately, they should be considered preliminary. Neither the answers supplied by the user nor the results are retained by the IRS.
After checking the Eligibility Assistant, Non-filer Sign-Up Tool is available to help those who don’t normally file tax returns.
The online Non-filer Sign-Up Tool is designed to help eligible families who don’t normally file tax returns register for the monthly Advance Child Tax Credit payments.
This tool, an update of last year’s IRS Economic Impact Payment Non-filers tool, is also designed to help eligible individuals who don’t normally file tax returns register for the $1,400 third round of Economic Impact Payments (also known as stimulus checks) and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit for any amount of the first two rounds of Economic Impact Payments they may have missed.
Developed in partnership with Intuit and delivered through the Free File Alliance, this tool provides a free and easy way for eligible people who don’t make enough income to have an income tax return-filing obligation to provide the IRS the basic information needed to figure and issue their Advance Child Tax Credit payments. This includes name, address, and social security numbers.
This also enables them to provide information about their qualifying children age 17 and under, their other dependents, and their direct deposit bank information so the IRS can quickly and easily deposit the payments directly into their checking or savings account. It is available only on IRS.gov, the release added.
The Non-filer Sign-Up tool should not be used by anyone who has already filed a 2019 or 2020 federal income tax return.
No Action Needed by Most Other Families
Eligible families who already filed or plan to file 2019 or 2020 income tax returns should not use the Non-filer Sign-Up Tool. Once the IRS processes its 2019 or 2020 tax return, the information will be used to determine eligibility and issue advance payments.
Families who want to claim other tax benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-and moderate-income families, should not use this tool and instead file a regular tax return. For them, the fastest and easiest way to file a return is the Free File system, available only on IRS.gov.
Watch Out for Scams
The IRS urges everyone to be on the lookout for scams related to both Advance Child Tax Credit payments and Economic Impact Payments. The IRS emphasized that the only way to get either of these benefits is by either filing a tax return with the IRS or registering online through the Non-filer Sign-up Tool, exclusively on IRS.gov. Any other option is a scam.
Watch out for scams using email, phone calls, or texts related to the payments. Remember, the IRS never sends unsolicited electronic communications asking anyone to open attachments or visit a non-governmental website.
Child Tax Credit Update Portal
Earlier, the Treasury and IRS launched another useful tool, the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. Initially, this tool only enables anyone who has been determined to be eligible for advance payments to see that they are eligible and unenroll from (opt-out of) the advance payment program. Later, it will allow people to check on the status of their payments and make updates to their information, including their bank account information. Later this year, the tool will also be available in Spanish.
Community Partners Can Help
The IRS urges community groups, non-profits, associations, education organizations, and anyone else with connections to people with children to share this critical information about the Advance Child Tax Credit as well as other important benefits. Among other things, the IRS is already working closely with its community partners to ensure wide access to the Non-filer Sign-up Tool and the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. The agency is also providing additional materials and information that can be easily shared by social media, email, and other methods.
About the Advance Child Tax Credit
The expanded and newly-advanceable Child Tax Credit was authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act, enacted in March. Normally, the IRS will calculate the payment based on a family’s 2020 tax return, including those who use the Non-filer Sign-up Tool. If that return is not available because it has not yet been filed or is still being processed, the IRS will instead determine the initial payment amounts using the 2019 return or the information entered using the Non-filers tool that was available in 2020.
The payment will be up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child age 6 through 17.
To make sure families have easy access to their money, the IRS will issue these payments by direct deposit, as long as correct banking information has previously been provided to the IRS. Otherwise, people should watch their mail around July 15 for their mailed payment. The dates for the Advance Child Tax Credit payments are July 15, August 13, September 15, October 15, November 15, and December 15.
For more information, visit IRS.gov/childtaxcredit2021, or read FAQs on the 2021 Child Tax Credit and Advance Child Tax Credit Payments.