Missed a tax credit from last year? You can claim that money through Nov. 15

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People who do not typically file taxes have a new way to claim a federal tax credit aimed at low- to moderate-income workers that was temporarily made more generous last year.

GetCTC.org, a simplified filing tool, was updated on Wednesday to include the earned income tax credit. The maximum earned income tax credit you can claim for tax year 2021 is $1,502 if you have no qualifying children, which increases to $6,728 if you have three or more children. To qualify, your adjusted gross income for the year must fall within certain thresholds.

The site already lets people submit their information to claim the expanded child tax credit, worth up to $3,600 per qualifying child, as well as the third stimulus check, which amounted to $1,400 per person.

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The deadline to claim any money owed to you on GetCTC.org is Nov. 15. The tool targets people who do not typically have a filing obligation with the IRS, including single filers with less than $12,000 in annual income and married couples who file jointly with less than $25,000.

Legislation expanded access to pandemic-era credits

All three credits were part of the American Rescue Plan, which was enacted in 2021.

The legislation made the child tax credit for the year more generous, for a total of $3,600 per child under age 6 and $3,000 per child ages 6 through 17, up from $2,000 per child.

Advance payments of up to $300 per month for children under 6 and $250 per month for those under 18 were also deployed last year.

But recipients had to file tax forms to claim the rest of the sums owed to them.

The expanded child tax credit was also made fully refundable, which made it possible for families with no to low income to claim it.

Likewise, eligibility for the earned income tax credit was also expanded. More childless workers can claim the 2021 credit. The age range of eligible workers was also expanded to include younger adults ages 19 to 24 and those ages 65 and up. Moreover, income caps to qualify were also raised.

EITC is ‘the largest the largest refundable tax credit’

Code for America, the nonprofit organization behind GetCTC.org, is excited to add the EITC claiming capability, said David Newville, senior program director.

“The EITC is the biggest anti-poverty program in the country,” Newville said.

“It’s the largest refundable tax credit in terms of dollar amounts,” he said.

We want to make sure folks are receiving all of the tax benefits they’re eligible for.
David Newville
senior program director at Code for America

Yet the earned income tax credit still goes unclaimed. Up to one-fifth of those eligible have historically not received the money for which they were eligible. Consequently, billions of dollars have been left on the table, Newville said.

“When possible, we want to make sure folks are receiving all of the tax benefits they’re eligible for and get the biggest refund possible,” Newville said.

How to claim the EITC

The process for claiming the earned income tax credit on GetCTC.org is more involved than the child tax credit or stimulus checks.

Unlike those other credits, the earned income tax credit requires at least some earned income that a worker can document with a W-2. Self-employment or cash income does not qualify under IRS rules.

Filers who use GetCTC.org will now be prompted to also submit for the earned income tax credit if the tool determines they could be eligible. From there, users can opt out and proceed to claim just the child tax credit and stimulus payments, if they prefer.

Those who intend to claim the earned income tax credit should gather their paperwork, including W-2s. The tool will allow filers to pause claiming and come back to it, if necessary, Newville said. They can also change their minds in the middle of the process and just continue with the child tax credit and stimulus payments.

Filers who plan to use GetCTC.org need to do so by Nov. 15 before the IRS closes the e-file system for this year. If you miss the deadline, you can still claim the credits for up to three years by filing a 2021 tax return.

“We’re hoping this can really do a big push to reach more folks and get them a huge chunk of their tax benefits,” Newville said.

Sophie Tremblay

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