The White House, in partnership with the US Department of the Treasury and Code for America, relaunched the GetCTC portal, which had been temporarily unavailable to encourage families to submit tax returns during the tax filing season. This simplified sign-up tool, available in English and Spanish, allows low-income families and individuals who do not regularly file taxes to claim their expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC).
Families have until October 2022 to claim their CTC. Those receiving benefits from federal safety net programs, such as SNAP, TANF, and WIC, and those without any income are eligible to receive the expanded CTC.
Through the non-filer portal, families can also apply for unclaimed stimulus checks. These economic impact payments were provided to individuals three times throughout 2020 and 2021 in response to the financial difficulty many faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the National Association of Counties:
Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), the expanded CTC provides major tax relief for nearly all working families. The expanded CTC increased payments to families, expanded eligibility to include those with no earnings, and increased the age of eligible children from 16 to 17, resulting in nearly 27 million additional children qualifying for enhanced income support. However, uptake of the expanded CTC suggests that gaps in access have persisted. An estimated 75 percent of families currently participating in public benefit programs are at risk of missing out on tax credits.
As key partners with the federal government in designing and implementing social services and anti-poverty programs, county governments are uniquely positioned to perform education and outreach to connect vulnerable residents with the expanded CTC. The simplified site design will aid county government officials in our ongoing efforts to assist families in accessing this expanded benefit, which will help reduce child poverty and support vulnerable residents experiencing increased levels of economic instability due to the pandemic.
Code for America has outreach resources available on their site where counties can submit examples of their efforts to connect families with the CTC. For more support on outreach, county officials can join Code for America’s Office Hours for state and local benefits agencies, which take place on Wednesdays at 1 pm ET, using this link.