Child Tax Credit: You Can Still Claim Your Refund Even If You Missed Online Filing Deadlines

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When the Biden administration passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), it expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) temporarily for 2021, creating the largest U.S. child tax credit ever. The CTC has reverted to its original amount of $2,000 per child for the 2022 tax year, but the enhanced 2021 credit can still be claimed on your 2023 taxes.

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The deadline to use the GetCTC.org filing tool to claim the tax credits was Nov. 15, and Nov. 17 for the the IRS’ Free file program. However, according to Roxy Caines, EITC campaign director at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (per CNBC), individuals and families who missed both these still have up to three years to file their tax returns and claim the 2021 tax credits for which they may be eligible.

“This is not the very last deadline,” Caines said. “People will be able to claim tax credits that they’re eligible for through Tax Day 2025.”

Of course, to take advantage of this one-year enhanced child tax credit, families have to meet eligibility requirements and file their 2021 taxes. In October, the IRS sent notices to more than 9 million families who still had not filed federal tax returns to let them know that they might still qualify for credits — including the CTC, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC), which is available to claim any stimulus money you didn’t receive but were entitled to.

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The expanded CTC enabled most working families to claim $3,000 per child under 18 years of age and $3,600 per child six and younger. The ARP also made the credit fully refundable and provided tax credit options for lower-income families to take half the credit in six monthly payments.

All eligible families could receive the full credit if they earned up to $150,000 for a married couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent in 2021, according to ChildTaxCredit.gov.

The return to pre-pandemic payments will have a powerful impact on families struggling to provide basic needs for their children. As ChildTaxCredit.gov stated, the CTC helped low-income families reduce their food insecurity by 25% and supported the fight against growing child poverty.

In response to a federal inaction, many state governments have passed their own child tax credit legislation and have sent out direct payments to provide relief to struggling families.

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According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to claim the 2021 Child Tax Credit, you will need to enter the details of your children and other dependents on your Form 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) and attach a completed Schedule 8812 (Credits for Qualifying Children and Other Dependents).

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