American citizens are looking forward to receiving the third round of stimulus money for 2021. The payments are expected to continue into the following year as well because of the modifications that were made to quite a few tax credits by the American Rescue Plan.
The relief measure for covid worth $1.9T tweaked the care credit for dependents and children, the credit for earned income, as well as the child tax credit.
The changes, particularly those on the CTC, have the intention of helping out those who have a low income. However, the changes are temporary, remaining applicable for next year’s tax season only which is the income for 2021. Of course, Congress can always extend the modifications or even make the changes permanent.
The law for pandemic aid also enables heads of households to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC). This is for collecting any missing funds from the previous rounds of stimulus checks.
The Recovery Rebate Tax Credit
The third and latest round of stimulus relief paid out checks of a maximum value of $1400 for each individual. However, it also enables claiming missing amounts or amounts not received in the previous two rounds of payments for economic impact.
The two beginning rounds ($1200 maximum for the first, and $600 maximum for the second) were advance payments under the tax credit called the RRC for 2020, technically.
Tax filers who received the complete amount in their previous stimulus checks do not qualify for any additional payment. However, some individuals can be entitled to a bigger tax credit if they had not received any of the previous two rounds of stimulus checks, or in case, the amount was less than what they are supposed to get.
The mistake could have occurred in case the IRS based the payments of an older tax return and not the latest, for instance. Outdated income tax returns may disqualify the household from receiving the check. This is so because the checks have a certain limit on AGIs as an eligibility criterion.
For example, if someone had lost their source of income later on in the last year, and currently qualifies for the previous two checks worth a total of $1800. The payment might not have been issued by the IRS because the latest tax return on their files was of 2019, which recorded a better income. Such individuals can claim the RRC as part of their total tax credit during this year’s tax season. The tax refund will include the payment.
As such, even non-filers or people who are not usually required to file taxes must do file their tax returns for 2020. Identical rules are applicable for the latest third round of stimulus payments as well worth $1400. In this case, it will be filed under the tax return for 2022.
In general, people with AGIs to a maximum of $75000 in case of singles, $112500 in case of household heads, and $150000 in case of joint filers and married couples qualify for the maximum amount of $1400. After that threshold, the stimulus amount gradually decreases for higher AGIs.
The Child Tax Credit
The Plan designed to rescue America brought several modifications in both the timing and amount of the child tax credit.
Almost 4/5 of the families that have kids will receive tax cuts under the recent rules. Elaine Maag, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center’s principal research associate, stated that the new rules will see lower earners receive outsized benefits.
She continued that the bottom fifth will be getting an average tax credit worth $3270 with their federal taxes. Prior rules allowed tax filers to claim a maximum of $2000 for each child below 17 under the CTC.
The covid relief bill increases the limit for children below 6 to $3600, and for older ones to $3000. Children who are aged 17 can also qualify for the tax credit under the recent expansion by the covid relief bill.
The complete tax break will be available as per the AGI limits for the stimulus checks. The credit also decreases as the income increases over the threshold. The Service for Congressional Research reports that families with higher incomes will receive the same benefits as was the case under the previous law. However, in the case of a qualified 17-year-old, they might be entitled to a bigger amount.
The relief bill further enables the CTC to be completely refundable. Earlier the tax credit was refundable only partially- filers would receive a maximum of $1400.
The earlier structure was geared towards wealthier families. Lower earners or non-filers would receive only the minimum amount while families with higher incomes could file for a claim of higher value. Almost 19% of eligible taxpayers had incomes that were too little to qualify for the maximum amount, as claimed by the Research Service.
The changes will be applicable for the 2021 tax returns. Moreover, lawmakers are attempting to make a dependable income source out of the tax credit through advance payments. These payments may begin as soon as July 2021.
Lawmakers are hopeful the payment will ease the lives of low earners and help them pay their bills regularly. Half of the amount of the family’s tax credit will be the value of the advance. The rest of it would be as a refund during next year’s tax season. However, only those who have filed their 2020 tax return are eligible.
However, should larger payments are received in case of unforeseen events, families may have to return them. The payments have the 2020 tax returns or the latest one available as their basis. The information can be updated later on through the IRS website as well.
Earned Income Tax Credit
This tax credit is for those working families that have lower earnings. It is also refundable. The amount is based on how many kids the family has and the total income.
The changes will mostly affect workers that do not have kids. The maximum benefit that they received was increased three-fold. The amount now stands at $1502 from the previous $543, as reported by the Tax Foundation.
This is a result of increasing the income threshold for which tax-filer could receive the maximum allowed credit and after which the tax credit starts to decrease. The lower age limit is now 19 while the upper one has been removed completely.
Almost 9% of tax-filers are estimated to get the tax credit which includes all people in the bottom fifth of earnings.
Child And Dependent Care Credit
The Plan also enables filers to handle costs involved in dependent and child care more effectively. It made the paid expenses value eligible for the credit $8000 for a single dependent and two and more, $16000. Furthermore, the change will allow household heads to write off expenses up to 50% instead of the earlier 35%.
This implies that a maximum tax credit worth $4000 in case of one child and for two and more $8000 can be claimed.