Qualify for Stimulus Payments and Child Tax Credit by Filing Your Tax Extension by Oct. 15

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In light of unprecedented circumstances, the IRS extended the tax deadline to May 17 this year after millions of Americans had difficulty filing on time, as pandemic-related restrictions or uncertainties in how to file due to business troubles caused quite a stir.

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Even with the May 17 deadline, the absolute final deadline of Oct. 15 is fast approaching for those who requested and filed for an extension. If this deadline is missed, as well, you risk owing late fees and even worse: interest.

Additionally, you could be missing out on several stimulus checks and child tax credit payments that you easily could qualify for. What’s more, you could lose these benefits completely if you wait too long to file.

Many fear repercussions for making mistakes on tax returns or potential penalties for claiming income that they are unsure will incur a tax bill or not. As the pandemic continues to rage one, 2021 has become a particularly difficult year for millions of taxpayers, and the IRS is providing significant leeway with filing deadlines and parameters. Regardless of how little, or no, income you make, you still qualify for the stimulus payment and the child tax credit — these are both special refunds and payments as part of the stimulus package passed for 2021 specifically.

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To make your tax filing situation even easier, the IRS has provided a free file tool on its website. If you make under $72,000 a year, you can even file online  here — completely free of charge. If you earn over $72,000, that means you can fill out and file the free IRS forms on their website on your own.

If you did not file taxes last year and did not receive the first and second stimulus payments, you can still apply for the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, which will be resolved on next year’s taxes.

It is crucial that you file your taxes right away, even if you are uncertain about some information on your return. You can always make an adjustment or note on your return for any discrepancies in income changes that might affect your return. Without filing a tax return or registering with the IRS, you will not be able to receive the fully refundable child tax credit, even if you have children of qualifying ages.

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If you do not make enough income or regularly do not file taxes, you can register with the IRS to receive the child tax credit through their non-filer sign-up tool here.

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Last updated: October 4, 2021