Released: March 9, 2022
The American Rescue Plan Act, also known as ARPA, became law just over a year ago, providing a series of stimulus checks in 2021 that served as a lifeline to many Americans struggling with the challenging economics caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing food insecurity and providing basic relief. ARPA also provided several significant tax cuts for working families, including permanent transformational changes to the Child Tax Credit.
Thanks to the new legislation, families—either parents or legal guardians—can now receive up to $3,600 per child for children ages 0 to 5 and $3,000 per child for children ages 6 to 17 on an annual basis. Even families with $0 in income can claim the Child Tax Credit if they have qualifying children under the age of 18.
Millions of families were able to receive monthly advance payments of the Child Tax Credit between July and December 2021 due to ARPA. Now, in order to receive the rest of their tax credit, those families must file their 2021 tax return. Eligible families that did not receive advance payments can claim the full credit amount when they file their 2021 tax return. For most families, the deadline to file a tax return is April 18.
All eligible families can receive the full credit if they made up to $150,000 for a married couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent in 2021. Above these income thresholds, the amount of the credit is gradually reduced.
The Child Tax Credit, including monthly payments in 2021, is not taxable, and receiving the Child Tax Credit does not impact eligibility for or lower the amount of other federal benefits.
The IRS runs two programs that offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). For information about these programs, visit the IRS website at irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep.
Delaware County also provides a list of local organizations that provide free tax assistance to eligible residents. Visit delcopa.gov/ctc for contact information and websites.