File your tax return to ensure Child Tax Credit benefits

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By Sergio Mata-Cisneros and Hannah Santiago

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for one year in ways that have proved beneficial to millions of eligible families across the United States.

The amount of credit per child increased, the eligibility of the CTC grew, and the age limit is now 17 years old rather than 16. Since then, the first half of the CTC payments have been made, and the list of benefits is extensive: from helping reduce child poverty and hunger to providing an avenue for parents to afford basic necessities for themselves and their families.

The positive impact that the CTC has on millions of Americans proves a need for a continued extension.

Last year, families received six months of the advance CTC payments from July through December. To get the remaining half of the credit, families must file their 2022 taxes. There is still a chance for families who didn’t receive the advance CTC payments to access the credit by filing their taxes.

Parents who made little or no income last year are still eligible for the CTC but must also file a tax return to get the credit.

The IRS has sent letters to all families who received the advance CTC payments indicating how many monthly CTC payments they received and how many children in the household were eligible. The letter will also contain helpful information on how to file the 2022 return.

One final thing to consider is that for some families, filing taxes may mean eligibility for both the CTC and the Earned Income Tax Credit, which was extended in ARPA to include workers without dependent children and older workers who were previously excluded.

Therefore, it is crucial to file your taxes sooner rather than later with all these factors.

The CTC expansion as part of the American Rescue Plan Act has changed lives. Urge your members of Congress to make the expansion permanent.

Sergio Mata-Cisneros is a domestic policy analyst and Hannah Santiago is a domestic policy intern at Bread for the World.

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