U.S. Government Begs Taxpayers to Claim Their Child Tax Credits

U.S. Government Begs Taxpayers to Claim Their Child Tax Credits

The IRS said that certain taxpayers will automatically qualify for extra time to claim the credit.

The April 18 filing deadline for federal tax returns has come and gone, but the IRS this week encouraged those who missed the deadline to apply in order to limit penalties and interest.

Also, it’s not necessarily too late for them to receive the rest of the 2021 child tax credit.

“Families who don't owe taxes to the IRS can still file their 2021 tax return and claim the Child Tax Credit for the 2021 tax year at any point until April 15, 2025, without any penalty,” the IRS said in an announcement. “This year also marks the first time in history that many families with children in Puerto Rico will be eligible to claim the Child Tax Credit, which has been expanded to provide up to $3,600 per child.”

The IRS announcement also said that certain taxpayers will automatically qualify for extra time. This includes military members who previously or currently serve in a combat zone, support personnel in combat zones, taxpayers living outside of the United States, and also some disaster victims.

“Some people may choose not to file a tax return because they didn't earn enough money to be required to file. But they may miss out on receiving a refund. The only way to get a refund is to file a tax return,” the IRS said. "There’s no penalty for filing after the April 18 deadline if a refund is due. Taxpayers are encouraged to use electronic filing options including IRS Free File which is available on IRS.gov through October 17 to prepare and file 2021 tax returns electronically.”

The passing of the filing deadline may very well mean the book is closed on the 2021 expanded child tax credit. The credit, enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan Act in early 2021, brought into place direct payments for most American families every month in the second half of 2021, with more payouts arriving at tax time this year.

Democrats in Congress attempted to continue the expanded tax credit for another year, with language to do so included in the Build Back Better legislation that passed the House last December—but that legislation died in the Senate. Some Democratic senators have pushed for a revival of the child tax credit, or possibly even a bipartisan compromise to keep it going in some form, but it doesn’t appear those efforts have gained much traction in Congress.

In the meantime, there are signs that the president’s approval rating may have suffered from the demise of the child tax credit—even that those who received the child tax credit are now more likely to vote Republican.

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.

Image: Reuters.