By Tami Luhby, CNN
Low-income U.S. families who typically don’t file tax returns can now register to receive the enhanced child tax credit, which begins rolling out next month.
The Internal Revenue Service on Monday unveiled a registration tool on its website that will allow users to provide the necessary information about their households and, if they wish, their bank accounts so that the agency can directly deposit the funds.
Filers can also use the tool to sign up for the $ 1,400 stimulus check that Congress approved in March, as well as claim the two previous relief payments. A similar online form existed last year for low-income Americans to receive the first round of stimulus checks from the March 2020 bailout.
The strengthened child tax credit could cut child poverty by more than half, lifting more than 5 million children out of poverty, experts say. But it depends a lot on reaching the poorest families who usually don’t file tax returns. More than 3 million children live in households that could be at risk of missing out, according to separate estimates from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Propel, which runs an app used by a quarter of food stamp recipients.
Most households do not have to do anything to get the child tax credit since the IRS already has their 2020 or 2019 returns. About 39 million households, covering 88% of children, will start receiving monthly payments on. July 15th.
Eligible parents will receive $ 300 per month for each child under age 6 and $ 250 for each age 6 to 17. The payments, which will run until the end of the year, will give families half of the enhanced credit. They can claim the other half on their 2021 tax returns next year.
A second portal, which will be available in the coming weeks, will allow families to skip the advanced monthly payments, instead of collecting the full extended credit at tax time. It will also allow people to check the status of their monthly payments and update their information.
And the IRS will provide a tool to help families determine if they qualify for monthly payments.
Read more: Here’s what you need to know about the new child tax credit
Send more money to families for 2021
The enhanced credit, which is not in place until 2021, stems from Democrats’ $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package.
It gives families up to $ 3,600 for each child under 6 and $ 3,000 for each child under 18. This represents an increase over the existing credit of up to $ 2,000 per child under 17. The enhanced portion of the credit will be offered to single parents with annual incomes of up to $ 75,000, heads of households earning $ 112,500 and joint filers earning up to $ 150,000 per year.
The package also makes the tax credit fully refundable so that more low-income parents can take advantage of it. So far, it has only been partially repayable, leaving more than 20 million children unable to obtain full credit because their families’ incomes are too low.
Lawmakers also wanted to make it easier for parents to use the funds to cover their expenses during the year so that they provide half of the improved credit in the form of monthly payments.
Democrats in Congress pushed the Biden administration to make the boosted credit permanent, but the US plan for President Joe Biden’s families would only continue the increased payments until 2025. The plan would make the credit permanently fully repayable.
The provision is expected to cost around $ 110 billion per year.