Child Tax Credit

The expanded Child Tax Credit can help lift Latino children out of poverty.  

(This page reflects information about the Child Tax Credit as of November 16, 2021.)

This expanded and improved Child Tax Credit (CTC) is part of the American Rescue Plan and aims to help families raising children make ends meet. Experts estimate the CTC has the potential to cut child poverty in half and is one of our nation’s most powerful poverty-reducing tools.  

TheCTCprovides eligible families $3,000 a year for each child between six and 17, and $3,600 per year for each child ages five and under. Married couples making less than $150,000, single filers making $75,000, and heads of households making $112,500 a year can receive the full payment.  

The deadline to claim the advance payment of the CTC has passed, however families that have not received the credit can file for the full amount when they file their 2021 taxes. Important to note that parents with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) can file for the CTC as long as their child has a Social Security number (SSN). If you don’t have an ITIN or have not used it recently, now is the time to apply for or renew your ITIN.    

Impact of the Child Tax Credit payments

The improvements to the CTC in 2021 make it one of our nation’s most powerful poverty-reducing tools that, when deployed effectively, has the potential to cut Latino child poverty by more than one-third. This is especially important for Latino children, who are 26% of all children in the United States, but 41% of those living in poverty. Recent research has shown that the CTC advance payments strongly reduced food insufficiency among low-income families with children. Moreover, research has pointed out that increasing the coverage rate of the CTC is important for further reducing material hardship among families. 

  • The CTC monthly payments have also reduced financial stress among families. This benefit has helped families with paying bills, buying food and groceries, helping to pay their rent or mortgage, purchasing clothing and shoes, and paying down debt. However, data also show that Latino households lag others in claiming the credit. Although the November 15 deadline has passed and advance payments for the CTC cannot be claimed at this time, it is important for Latino families, in particular those without a Social Security number, to prepare themselves for tax season next year. If parents have not applied for or renewed their ITIN they should do so in early 2022.

Sergio Benicio Escobar Oaxaca's story

Father of four, ages 11, eight, five, and two months old 

From California 

“During the hardest times of the pandemic, sometimes I didn’t have the means to pay rent: I had to borrow money […]. That’s how I survived.” With the CTC, “I’ve been able to pay back the consequences of the pandemic […]. So the CTC has helped me a lot.” 

Carol Ríos's story

Single mother of two, a 16 and an eight-year-old 

From Minnesota 

“The CTC is something that truly helps: it’s very necessary money,” she says. “When you receive that money is like a release, a break. […] It is something that is as beneficial for the children as much as for the parents.” 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to claim the Child Tax Credit?

+ All eligible families—single filers making up to $75,000, joint filers (married couples) making under $150,000 or head of household making $112,500—can get the advanced payment of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in 2021.  

+ Families can sign up for the CTC even if they have little to no income or receive other federal benefits.

+ If you didn’t file a tax return for 2019 or 2020, and never claimed your stimulus payments, you can submit your information through GetCTC.org, a simplified tax filing portal, and get your payments. 

+ A ‘qualifying child’ is an individual who was born on or before January 1, 2004, and is a son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or a descendant of the claimant (for example, a grandchild, niece, or nephew).

+ Your ‘main home’ can be any location where you regularly live—may be your house, apartment, mobile home, shelter, temporary lodging, or other location. It doesn’t need to be the same physical location throughout the taxable year. You don’t need a permanent address to get these payments. If you are temporarily away from your main home because of illness, education, business, vacation, or military service, you are generally treated as living in your main home.

Non-filers may be:

  1. Low income – individuals with annual incomes less than $12,400 filing single or $24,800 filing jointly, who are not required to file taxes.
  2. SNAP, TANF, WIC, Medicaid recipients
  3. Racial and ethnic minorities
  4. Non-English speakers
  5. Incarcerated
  6. Living in rural communities
  7. Experiencing homelessness
  8. Immigrants or living in mixed immigration status families
  9. Still not sure about CTC eligibility? Use the CTC Eligibility Assistant 
Where can I go to get help signing up for the Child Tax Credit?

+ GetCTC.org – This site explains what the Child Tax Credit (CTC) is, eligibility, and how to obtain the credit.  

+ 211 – The United Way’s helpline, connecting people with resources that are available in their local communities.

+ ChildTaxCredit.com – This site answers frequently asked questions about the CTC, and includes an eligibility calculator.  

+ LetsGetSet.co – Both new and future parents can sign up for text alerts about the CTC at 844-921-5747.  

Is there a minimum income requirement for the Child Tax Credit?

+ No. There is no minimum income required to get the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for tax year 2021. Even if you have $0 in income, you can still receive advance CTC payments. In the past, families needed to have earned income, but this year they don’t.  

What should I do if I owe money to the IRS?

+ Families should file even if they owe money. Advance Child Tax Credit payments will not be reduced (offset) for overdue taxes from previous years or other federal or state debts that you owe. While the rest of your refund may be reduced in 2022, it helps pay down your debt so that you can get the full credit in future years.  

Is the Child Tax Credit a loan?

+ No. Families don’t have to pay it back (it’s not a loan). There are protections in place so you won’t have to pay this money back even if there was a mistake or a change in your circumstances as long as your 2021 income is less than $40,000 ($60,000 for married couples or $50,000 for heads of households).  

Do I need to report the Child Tax Credit money as income?

+ No. Advance Child Tax Credit payments are not taxable or considered income and will not be reported as income on your 2021 tax return.

Will I lose benefits if I receive the Child Tax Credit?

+ No. The Child Tax Credit does not impact your eligibility for other federally funded benefit programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, TANF, public housing, or other public benefits. Tax credits are not considered earned income. 

Will receiving the Child Tax Credit affect my immigration status?

+ No. Documented immigrants with green cards are eligible; as well as citizen children of undocumented parents are eligible. Receiving the Child Tax Credit (CTC) or other federal tax credits that you are eligible for will not affect your immigration status, your ability to get a green card, or your future eligibility for immigration benefits. The CTC, or other tax credits, are not considered in the evaluation of the public charge rule.  

If I have an ITIN, would I qualify for the benefit?

+ Yes, taxpayers who are parents or primary caretakers of a qualifying child will need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or a Social Security number (SSN) to claim the child as a dependent. ITINs are issued by the IRS for individuals who do not qualify to have an SSN (issued by the Social Security Administration). ITINs are used only for tax filing purposes and to not authorize an individual to work or claim other benefits.  

Would the IRS contact me via email, text, or social media to request personal information?

+ No. The federal government doesn’t initiate contact with individuals by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial informationeven information related to advance Child Tax Credit payments. 

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