WASHINGTON -- The White House sought Monday to raise awareness of the federal government's new expanded child tax credit, which will start paying out monthly in July to families with children who are 17 years old and younger.
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at a recreation center in Pittsburgh as part of a broader push to promote the program in partnership with churches, schools and other organizations.
"When more families know about how they can get the relief, that is how we will be able to lift our children out of poverty," Harris said.
The administration has launched the website https://childtaxcredit.gov with details for potential recipients. As part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, eligible families can receive as much as $3,600 for each child under the age of 6. The tax credit will be $3,000 annually per child between the ages of 6 and 17.
Democrats in the Philadelphia region are trying to get the message out as well.
"This is the most significant proposal and law to bring down child poverty in the United States since 1965," said Congressman Brendan Boyle.
The payments are to be made monthly, a first for the program. People can register for the program even if they did not fully file their taxes.
The program is slated to expire after one year, though Biden has proposed extending it through 2025 with the ultimate goal of making it permanent.
Do I qualify for the Child Tax Credit?
Nearly all families with kids will qualify. Some income limitations apply. For example, only couples making less than $150,000 and single parents (also called Head of Household) making less than $112,500 will qualify for the additional 2021 Child Tax Credit amounts. Families with high incomes may receive a smaller credit or may not qualify for any credit at all. For more detail on the phase-outs for higher income families, see "How much will I receive in Child Tax Credit payments?"
Do I need to do anything to make sure I receive my payments?
Most families won't have to do anything at all to receive the Child Tax Credit payments. If you filed taxes this year (your tax return for 2020), filed last year (your tax return for 2019), or if you signed up for Economic Impact Payments (commonly called "stimulus checks" or "stimmies") using the IRS's Non-Filer tool last year, you're all set and the IRS will automatically send you monthly payments.
If you did not have to file your taxes this year or last year, and you did not register for Economic Impact Payments last year, you can still sign up for the Child Tax Credit payments. The good news is that through the IRS Non-filer Sign-up Tool you can also apply for any Economic Impact Payments ("stimulus checks") that you're entitled to but may not have received yet.
When will I start receiving my monthly payments?
People who receive payments by direct deposit will get their first payment on July 15, 2021. After that, payments will go out on the 15th of every month. (In August the payment will go out on August 13th since the 15th falls on a weekend.) If you haven't provided the IRS with your bank account information on a recent tax return, a check will be sent out to you around the same time to the address the IRS has for you.
How much will I receive in Child Tax Credit payments?
Most families will receive the full amount: $3,600 for each child under age 6 and $3,000 for each child ages 6 to 17. To get money to families sooner, the IRS will send families half of their 2021 Child Tax Credit as monthly payments of $300 per child under age 6 and $250 per child between the ages of 6 and 17.
This amount may vary by income. These people qualify for the full Child Tax Credit:
-Married couples with income under $150,000
-Families with a single parent (also called Head of Household) with income under $112,500
-Everyone else with income under $75,000
These people will qualify for at least $2,000 of Child Tax Credit, which comes out to $166 per child each month:
-Married couples with income under $400,000
-Families with a single parent (also called Head of Household) with income under $200,000
-Everyone else with income under $200,000
Families with even higher incomes may receive smaller amounts or no credit at all.
I haven't filed taxes in a while. How can I receive this benefit?
You may be eligible for Child Tax Credit payments even if you have not filed taxes recently. Not everyone is required to file taxes.
This year, Americans were only required to file taxes if they earned $24,800 as a married couple, $18,650 as a Head of Household, or $12,400 as a single filer. If you had total income in 2020 below those levels, you can sign up to receive monthly Child Tax Credit payments using a simple tool for non-filers available on the IRS's website.
If you believe that your income in 2020 means you were required to file taxes, it's not too late. You can still file a return to get monthly Child Tax Credit Payments in 2021, as well as other tax benefits or a refund you are eligible to claim. For help filing a past due return, visit the IRS website.
Where will the IRS send my money?
The IRS will send your payments by direct deposit to the bank account they have on file. If they don't have bank account information for you, a check will be mailed to you.
*Information provided by the White House. To learn more, CLICK HERE.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.