Child tax credit 2021 update – Calls to extend payments for 2022 as December ‘$3,600 stimulus’ check to be... - The Sun

CALLS are growing for the child tax credit benefits to be extended through 2022.
The child tax credit monthly payments began in July 2021 and will continue through December.
In 2021, the child tax credits payments are worth up to $300 per child per month.
The total amounts are $3,600 per child under six, $3,000 per child between six and 17, and $500 for college students aged up to 24.
Only one child tax credit payment remains in 2021, with the last payment set to roll out on December 15.
The deadline to opt-out of payments was at 11.59pm ET on November 29.
Those who opted out of the monthly payments can receive a lump sum payment upon filing 2021 taxes next year.
Read our child tax credit live blog for the latest news and updates…
‘CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES’ PORTAL
If your family dynamic changes – say you’re sending off a kid to college, expecting a baby, tying the knot or your annual income changed – all of these factors might affect whether you’re qualified or how much money might be sent.
The “change of circumstances portal should allow them to enter their change in marital status and also where the children are,” Nina Olson, executive director of the Center for Taxpayer Rights said during an IRS oversight hearing.
WHEN IS THE AGE CUT OFF DATE FOR DETERMINING CTC AMOUNTS?
“Age is determined on December 31, 2021. If your child turns 18 this year, then they are not eligible for the monthly Child Tax Credit,” explained Congressman Steve Cohen.
HOW MUCH WERE CTC PAYMENTS BEFORE THE EXPANSION?
Before the America Rescue Plan, the Covid-19 relief package that launched in March, families received up to $2,000 for each qualifying dependent, per month.
Now, the payments are $3,600 for each dependent, and if the Build Back Better Agenda is passed, the expansion will last through 2022.
VOTERS SUPPORT EXPANDED TAX CREDIT
President Joe Biden expanded the child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,600 earlier this year as part of the American Rescue Plan.
The move has disproportionately benefitted states that voted for Donald Trump in last year’s presidential election.
Polling conducted by Reuters and Ipsos shows reveals that 59 percent of Americans support the expanded credits, including more than four in ten Republican voters.
HOW MUCH MONEY IS MY FAMILY ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE?
Since July 15, the IRS started doling out monies to eligible families with the CTC worth as much as $300 per month for each child under 6 years old and $250 for each kid between the ages of 6 and 17.
About $15billion of the federal stimulus was “paid to families that include nearly 60 million eligible children” as part of the CTC made possible because of President Joe Biden’s $1.9trillion American Rescue Plan package passed in March.
The most recent checks helped reach an additional 1.6 million kids compared to the first month they were sent out.
A total of $15billion were distributed to the families of about 61 million children on August 13 alone, the IRS, and reported by CNBC.
THESE FAMILIES ARE AUTOMATICALLY ELIGIBLE
If your child has a Social Security number, then no matter your circumstances, your family is eligible to receive full monthly payments so long as you earn less than $150,000 per year if you’re married or $112,500 if you’re single and the primary caretaker.
To receive the benefits without having filed a tax return in 2020 or 2019, you’ll have to enroll using the IRS’s Non-filer Sign-up Tool.
From there, applicants will need to verify their name, mailing address, email address, date of birth, a valid SS number or Taxpayer ID number for yourself and your dependents, a bank account number, routing number, and an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) if you’ve been issued one.
WHEN CAN YOU EXPECT THE SIXTH PAYMENT?
Those who have been receiving monthly payments of up to $300 can expect their final payment in 2021 to be sent out on December 15. 
The remaining half of the child tax credit will be processed after filing a 2021 tax return next year.
WHY DID SOME FAMILIES GET BIGGER PAYMENTS IN NOVEMBER?
Those who started claiming child tax credits late – got more than others for the month of November.
Assuming this was their first month claiming, they received up to $900 for each child.
Those with two kids under age six got $1,800. Those with two children aged between six and 17 got $1,500.
Those who started claiming just last month got up to $600 per child.
WHY DID SOME FAMILIES GET SMALLER PAYMENTS IN NOVEMBER?
Some might gave gotten smaller payments because they were given slightly more than they should have in an earlier payment.
In September, there was a glitch that overpaid families $31.25 per child between six and 17 and $37.50 per child under six.
This affected around 2% of recipients, which is roughly 700,000 families.
“Some of these cases” will now get slightly smaller payments for October, November, and December to adjust for the overpayment, the IRS has said.
This will result in about a $10 to $13 reduction per child in the monthly payments for October, November, and December.
So, if this affected you, your family got slightly less for this month and also will for December.
OPT-OUT DEADLINE PASSED FOR NEXT MONTH
There is no longer time to opt out of the December payment, as the deadline was on November 29.
If you did not opt out, you are set to receive a the last check of this year, which will be sent out on December 15.
AN EXPANDED CHILD TAX CREDIT WOULD GIVE ‘BREATHING ROOM’
Those who support the Build Back Better Agenda say it will give millions of Americans breathing room, and help them take care of their families by extending the Child Tax Credit.
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, husband to Vice President Kamala Harris, tweeted “Millions of Americans—especially women—are unable to join the workforce because they are staying home to take care of their families.”
“The Build Back Better Agenda gives them breathing room by cutting child care and elder care costs and extending the expanded Child Tax Credit,” Emhoff added.
FIRST PAYMENTS WERE EFFECTIVE ‘EVEN WITH IMPERFECT COVERAGE’
The NBER found “increasing the CTC coverage rate would be required in order for material hardship to be reduced further.”
“Self-reports suggest the lowest-income households were less likely than higher-income families to receive the first CTC payments,” the paper added.
“As more children receive the benefit in future months, material hardship may decline further.”
“Even with imperfect coverage, however, our findings suggest that the first CTC payments were largely effective at reducing food insufficiency among low-income families with children.”
INDIANA MAN STEALS CHILD TAX CREDIT MONEY
local news outlet reported that a man from Mitchell, Indiana, allegedly stole more than $600 of a woman’s child tax credit money.
The incident was captured on video surveillance, and the man, identified as 33-year-old Michael Jarvis, was arrested on theft charges.
HOW TO AVOID CTC SCAMS
To protect yourself, the Better Business Bureau recommends doing your research to make sure the check is real and double-check if the government agency or organization issuing the payment actually exists.
And remember, you can check out the status of your stimulus payment and your eligibility directly with the IRS.
AVOID THIS CHILD TAX CREDIT SCAM: FAKE CHECKS
One of the scams that experts say will likely re-emerge with the child tax credit is phony checks.
Typically the scam starts when a recipient receives a check and deposits it in their bank account, Paige Schaffer, CEO of global identity and cyber protection services at Generali Global Assistance, said.
Schaffer says that the fraudsters then reach out and let them know that the amount was incorrect and ask them to return the overpaid funds.
‘CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES’ PORTAL
If your family dynamic changes – say you’re sending off a kid to college, expecting a baby, tying the knot or your annual income changed – all of these factors might affect whether you’re qualified or how much money might be sent.
The “change of circumstances portal should allow them to enter their change in marital status and also where the children are,” Nina Olson, executive director of the Center for Taxpayer Rights said during an IRS oversight hearing.
ARE YOU MISSING A CHECK?
There are a couple of reasons why you may not have received your checks.
They include not filing tax returns for 2020 or 2019, nor using the IRS tool to claim your coronavirus stimulus checks.
If you did not file taxes, there’s a tool called the Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool where you can add your information to see if you qualify.
PARENTS WARNED THEY MAY HAVE TO PAY STIMULUS BACK, DEPENDING ON CHILD’S BIRTHDAY
It comes as another tax year wraps up, with the IRS wanting to make sure people use the online portal to update information when it comes to the stimulus.
If your information isn’t updated, you face having to repay the agency for any overpayments.
If you received a total amount of advance child tax credit payments that exceeds the amount of child tax credit (CTC) you can properly claim on your 2021 tax year, you may need to repay to the IRS some or all of that excess payment.
If your child turns 18 by the end of 2021, that child does not qualify for a payment.
WHAT IS THE AMOUNT PARENTS RECEIVE BASED ON?
The amount of advance child tax credit payments you received during 2021 is based on the IRS’s estimate of the CTC amount you are allowed for the 2021 tax year.
The law requires this estimate to be based on two primary sources of information.
The first is your 2020 tax year return. If that return is not available, the IRS will refer to your 2019 return.
Second, any updated information you provide to the IRS in 2021, including any changes to the number of qualifying children, changes in your income and changes in your filing status.
The agency understands that family and life situations change throughout any given year.
That’s why you may receive a total amount of advance payments which may be more than the amount of CTC you’re allowed.
FAMILIES WITH TWO KIDS COULD RECEIVE 8K PAYMENT NEXT YEAR
Parents that have kids under 13 and an income of less than $125,000 can claim the extra cash.
The support is known as the child and dependent tax credit, which aims to help working families offset expenses when financially providing for their kids.
Qualifying expenses include transportation, housekeepers, babysitters, before and after school programs, as well as day camps and daycare.
The cash can also be used to care for dependents with disabilities. We explain what you need to know.
SOME FAMILIES COULD COLLECT UP TO $16K
For every family earning $125,000 or less, the CTC credit will cover 50 percent of qualifying expenses up to $8,000 associated with the care of a child under 13 or a spouse, parent or other dependent who is unable to care for themselves. 
If a family is caring for two or more eligible dependents, they can collect up to $16,000 in expenses. 
For families earning between $125,000 and $183,000, it will cover up to 20 percent, according to iHeart.
YOU DON’T QUALIFY FOR REPAYMENT PROTECTION IF:
You will not qualify for any repayment protection if your modified AGI is at or above the amounts listed below based on the filing status on your 2021 tax return.

WAYS TO QUALIFY FOR REPAYMENT PROTECTION
If you qualify for full repayment protection, you won’t need to repay any excess amount paid to you by the IRS.
You qualify if your main home was in the United States for more than half of 2021.
Also, based on the filing status of your 2021 tax return, you qualify for repayment protection if your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2021 is at or below the following amount:
CONTACTING THE IRS
The IRS live assistance phone line might still be limited, as the agency has been busy with delayed stimulus checks, unemployment tax refunds, and tax returns.
So, it might be quicker to get an answer through the IRS’ frequently asked questions section.
And it’s important to note that the IRS does not have a separate contact number for child tax credits; the number for tax-related questions is 800-829-1040.
CHILD TAX CREDIT CALCULATOR
To find out if you qualify and, if so, how much you’re due to receive via either direct deposit or a mailed check, you can use the child tax credit calculator on CNet’s website.
On the tool, it will be explained how “the math and other requirements work in determining your family’s credit account” if your payment doesn’t add up, according to the outlet.
It will also teach you how to manage your child tax credit payments when signing up with the IRS and let you know what to look out for during next year’s tax season.
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