Parents Can Get Thousands of Dollars This Tax Season: Here’s How

By Julia Beebe
Child Tax Credit

With the ongoing Covid pandemic and rising prices, we know that parents face challenges as they manage their families’ health, finances and emotional needs. Fortunately, this tax season, tens of millions of families can get a little extra breathing room thanks to the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC).

The full CTC provides $3,600 per child under 6 years old and $3,000 per child between the ages of 6 and 17. Whether you received monthly advance CTC payments last year or not, you can claim the remaining credit when you file tax returns this year.

With the tax season well underway, now is the time to claim the credit and to support other families in your community in doing so.

What is the CTC?

The CTC is a fully refundable tax credit for families with qualifying children. The 2021 American Rescue Plan expanded the Child Tax Credit for 2021 to get more help to more families. Nearly 90% of kids in the U.S., including those in families with no or very low incomes, are eligible for the full credit. Under the American Rescue Plan, the IRS disbursed half of the 2021 Child Tax Credit the IRS estimated you may properly claim on your 2021 tax return in monthly payments during the second half of 2021.

As you file your 2021 tax returns, you can claim the remaining half of the credit or, if you did not receive payments last year, the full amount. The impacts of the expanded CTC are far-reaching: it is projected to reduce the number of children experiencing poverty by about 40%.

3 steps you can take now to claim the CTC and help other families do so:

  1. File your tax returns by April 18th in order to claim the CTC and potentially other credits, like the Child and Dependent Care Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you do not have a filing obligation or you apply for an extension, you can continue to file after April 18th. Many families are eligible for free tax preparation services. You can access free tax filing assistance through ( in Spanish), a website created in partnership with IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). The website will determine your eligibility for different services and then direct you to in-person, virtual or do-it-yourself tax filing services.

    Before going to a tax preparation appointment – whether through a service like VITA or a paid preparer—be sure to gather all the required documents for filing (in English and Spanish). If you are using paid services, keep in mind these tips in order to find a trustworthy preparer who prioritizes accuracy.
  1. Tell your friends and other parents in your child’s school about the CTC and where they can get help filing taxes to claim it. Consider sharing a flyer, fact sheet (in English and Spanish) or social media post (in Spanish and other languages here) and direct them to where they can learn more. You do not have to be a tax expert to help spread the word! Fortunately, there are many in-person and online resources to support families in filing taxes to claim the CTC.
  1. Work with your local PTA to tell families in your children’s school or district about the CTC and how they can claim it. You can send messages to families using these templates, distribute these flyers and post on parent Facebook pages (and other social media) using these resources in English or in other languages. If your PTA wants to take additional steps to help families claim the credit, you can use these available outreach resources from the Partnership for America’s Children, Coalition on Human Needs and other organizations advocating for families and children. For example, you could host an information session for parents and guardians with a tax and/or immigration expert to help answer questions.

Your family may be eligible for thousands of dollars! Act now to claim the money to which you are entitled and consider connecting other families to the resources they need to do so as well!

Julia Beebe is the Child Tax Credit Outreach Coordinator with the Coalition on Human Needs and Partnership for America’s Children.

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