On July 15-one month from today- the first set of payments from the expanded Child Tax Credit will be sent out. The expanded credit was brought into existence by the American Rescue Plan Act, which was passed into law in March, and follows the stimulus checks for most Americans that were sent as part of that piece of legislation.
Rather than in one lump sum like the earlier stimulus checks, the new payments will arrive on a monthly basis, with the following ones arriving on August 13, September. 15, October 15, November 15 and December 15. Those eligible will receive the other half of the child tax credit money when they file their 2021 taxes.
Ahead of the payments, the IRS has announced a tool to allow low-income families who don’t normally sign up to pay taxes the chance to apply for the credit. The tool is known as the Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool.
The IRS this month is sending letters to those eligible for the Child Tax Credit. A second letter will follow, with more specific information for each family that is eligible for the credit.
“This letter will inform you of the amount of your estimated Child Tax Credit monthly payments,” the IRS website says. "This letter will also indicate where you can find additional information about advance Child Tax Credit payments.”
The expanded Child Tax Credit is expected to benefit 92 percent of families with children and 66 million American children overall.
The IRS also laid out who is eligible.
“You qualify for advance Child Tax Credit payments if you have a qualifying child. Also, you — or your spouse, if married filing a joint return — must have your main home in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia for more than half the year. Your main home can be any location where you regularly live,” the agency says. “Your main home may be your house, apartment, mobile home, shelter, temporary lodging, or other location and doesn’t need to be the same physical location throughout the taxable year. You don’t need a permanent address to get these payments. If you are temporarily away from your main home because of illness, education, business, vacation, or military service, you are generally treated as living in your main home.”
The expanded tax credit is for 2021 only. However, President Biden has proposed, as part of his American Families Plan package, to expand the expanded child tax credit through 2025, while a separate proposal in Congress, from House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, would make the expanded child credit permanent.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.