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Third child tax credit checks go out soon. Here's a new tool to help families sign up

Bailey Aldridge, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Home and Consumer News

A new tool is available to eligible families to sign up for the child tax credit if they aren’t already receiving it.

Code for America launched the bilingual, mobile-friendly tool along with the White House and the U.S. Treasury Department. It’s designed to help some families with low or no income get access to the enhanced credits or missing COVID-19 stimulus payments without having to file a full income tax return.

The child tax credit provides eligible parents with up to $3,600 per child over the course of the year. The first half of the credit will go out as direct payments each month through the end of the year if parents do not opt out of them. The second half can be claimed when filing income taxes for 2021.

A third round of payments is set to go out to families on Sept. 15.

The government has also sent out three rounds of direct coronavirus relief payments to individuals — $1,200 in April 2020, $600 in December 2020 and $1,400 in March 2021.

How to use the tool


Eligible families can file a “simplified return” using the new tool here. They will need a valid Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to complete the form.

The tool, called GetCTC, is designed for those who earned less than $12,400 if single and $24,800 if married and filing jointly in 2020, who have not filed a tax return this year and who “didn’t receive the full amount of stimulus” they were owed, Code for America said.

“Rather than submitting a full tax return, GetCTC files what the IRS calls a ‘simplified return,’ containing just the information needed to issue Child Tax Credit and stimulus payments,” Code for America said. “This means that GetCTC asks for no more information than is required to make these payments accurately.”

Families should receive payments within weeks of submitting the form, according to Code for America.


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