For millions of families across the country, the $300 per child stimulus check will bring much-needed relief. But for many others, this money could be a lifeline to keep afloat as they struggle through an economic recession.
The child tax credit is a benefit that helps parents offset the cost of raising children. You may be able to claim it if you:
- Have at least one child who meets all of the following criteria:
- Is under age 17 or under age 24 and a full-time student, as long as he or she isn’t married or actively serving in the military
- Was claimed as your dependent on your 2021 federal income tax return
- Made more than $2,500 in qualifying work-related expenses during the year (you can deduct these from your income on Schedule A)
The largest portion of the stimulus check, $200 per family member, will be sent to most taxpayers with an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). But other groups—including those without a Social Security number and non-resident aliens who don’t have an ITIN—won’t receive anything unless they specifically request it.
Stimulus Check Money Upcoming?
Here’s how to make sure you get your share:
- Go to the IRS website at irs.gov/taxseason or call 800-829-1040 for more information about how your family qualifies for the tax credit. The site also has a list of local assistance centers that help people file their taxes; if you need help there, too, ask them whether they accept walk-ins or require appointments in advance.
- If you’re eligible for any part of this benefit package but haven’t applied yet, do so as soon as possible! The deadline is April 15th if you file online or by mail; if you file over the phone or at an assistance center by April 17th (that’s tomorrow!), it’ll still be counted toward this year’s tax return but won’t count toward next year’s taxes unless additional paperwork is filed after then.
The IRS has sent out a call for applicants last month for the special economic impact payments (EIP) and some families have already received the cash.
So far, the IRS has paid more than $65 billion to 33 million eligible households and dependents, including nearly 16 million children. Those who have yet to receive their checks should still be able to file an application before April 15 if they missed their original deadline due to financial hardship or other circumstances beyond their control.
If you didn’t get the EIP, don’t worry. You can still apply for the child tax credit (CTC).
The CTC is a one-time payment made to qualifying households. It’s available to low-income families with children who are under 17 years old and certain other qualifying dependents like disabled parents or siblings. The IRS will use your income tax return information from 2021 to determine if you qualify for this perk—and if so, how much money they’ll send your way. Unlike EIP, which is a one-time payment, CTC money comes in monthly installments over several months instead of all at once.
You can apply for the Child Tax Credit—also known as the Recovery Rebate Credit—if you aren’t on track to receive it. The application process opened on Monday for single parents or guardians who don’t necessarily make enough money to file taxes or receive other forms of government assistance.
The IRS has rolled out its online tool to apply for the Child Tax Credit, but only if your household income is below $50,000 and you have at least one child under 18 living with you in 2019. It’s also only available for children born after December 31, 2004, if they’re under 17 years old by December 31st this year (so technically, those born before then will be eligible as well).