Don’t Miss Out on the Expanded Child Tax Credit

Learn how your family can receive monthly payments for eligible children under age 18.

In July, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began making monthly Child Tax Credit payments of up to $300 per child to families as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law by President Biden. Under ARPA, the amount of the Child Tax Credit was increased for most families for the year 2021 (up to $3,600 per child under age 6 or $3,000 per child ages 6 to 17, per year). In addition, ARPA provides that you can receive advance payment of half of the annual credit as $300 or $250 monthly payments in 2021 and the other half as part of your tax refund in 2022. You will receive the maximum payment amounts if you had no income or modified Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of up to $75,000 (filing a single return) or $150,000 (filing a joint return). If you filed a tax return in 2019 or 2020, the IRS should have already begun sending you a monthly credit payment (via direct deposit or check) in July in an amount based on your most recent return. While Congress is considering extending the increased Child Tax Credit for future years, the increased Child Tax Credit payment only applies to tax year 2021.

What You Need to Receive the Child Tax Credit

  • Your child must have a Social Security number (SSN). Parents may have either an SSN or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
  • If you filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return or used the IRS Non-filer tool, no action is needed.
  • Whether or not you file taxes, you must have your information on file with the IRS. Visit the IRS website to learn what is required.
  • If you are required to file a return but did not file one in 2019 or 2020, you may file your taxes using NYC Free Tax Prep if you meet certain income requirements (see below).
  • If you are not required to file a return because your AGI is less than $12,400 (filing a single return) or $24,800 (filing a joint return), you may use the IRS Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool or file your taxes using NYC Free Tax Prep.
  • The fastest way to receive your payment is by direct deposit to a bank account. If you don’t have a bank account and need assistance opening one, contact the NYC Financial Empowerment Center by calling 311 and saying “financial counseling” or visiting their website.

Get Free Tax Preparation Assistance NYC Free Tax Prep

NYC Free Tax Prep

Although the deadline for filing 2020 taxes has passed, you may still file your return with NYC Free Tax Prep. An IRS-certified volunteer preparer can guide you on how to make sure you can get your payments. Services are available year-round. For information or to book an appointment, call 311 and say “tax preparation” or visit their website.

Note: If you owe the government money, late filing and/or late payment penalties may apply.

Food Bank For New York City

In response to the expansion of the Child Tax Credit, Food Bank For New York City is providing free tax preparation services through October 15 for those who earned $57,000 or less in 2020. You can make an appointment at a Food Bank document drop-off location or get help online. For more information, visit the Food Bank website or call (646) 981-6111, Monday through Friday, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds do not provide tax or legal advice. The material above has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax or legal advice. You should consult your tax and accounting advisor if you have any questions.

Beware of scams: The IRS will not call or email you to demand payment or personal information for you to receive your advance payments. Most people won’t need to take any action to receive payments.