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Child Tax Credit: What You Need to Know

By Communities In Schools | Oct. 14, 2021

The American Rescue Plan Act significantly expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for 2021, but according to the Treasury Department, as many as 2.3 million children might miss out on benefits because their families did not file income taxes in 2019 or 2020. Many of these families earned too little to file a tax return and thus have the most to gain from the expanded CTC. 

Communities In Schools® (CIS™) has joined an effort to reach out and help families claim their Child Tax Credit if they have not automatically received their payments from the IRS. This year, the CTC is fully “refundable,” meaning that eligible families can get it even if they don’t have earned income or owe no federal income tax. But millions of children could miss out on CTC payments if their families do not provide the IRS with the information it needs.

Who is eligible to receive the Child Tax Credit?

Nearly every family is eligible to receive the expanded Child Tax Credit this year, including families that haven’t filed a tax return and families that don’t have recent income. Each qualifying household is eligible to receive up to $3,600 for each child under 6 years old, and $3,000 for each child between 6 and 17 years old. The credit is not a loan. Families can receive half of their new credit in 2021 and the remaining half in 2022 when they file a tax return.

Where do I go if we haven't received our Child Tax Credit yet?

If you haven’t received your credit yet, visit or call 211 to learn more.

Where are families most at risk of missing out on the expanded Child Tax Credit?

This tool maps where children in these families are most likely to live, which can help inform policymakers and community advocates working to connect eligible families to needed benefits.



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