Tax Day is now less than five weeks away. And, many American families have not yet taken advantage of the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) that was established in 2021. Still, it's not too late to do so. All you have to do to claim your full CTC is file a 2021 tax return by the April 18, 2022, deadline. Passed as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the expanded CTC was increased to $3,600 (from $2,000) per child under the age of 6, and to $3,000 (also from $2,000) for every child from age 6 to 17.
There are also many options for eligible households to file their 2021 tax return for free. Just visit the Internal Revenue Service online and explore its Free File webpage.
At present, the expanded CTC is a one-time only increase as Congress failed to renew it before the end of the 2021 legislative session. Nonetheless, its success in lifting more than 10 million children and their families above the federal poverty line has generated intense discussions among legislators, activists, scholars, and financial analysts, many of whom have called for Congress to reverse course renew the expanded CTC in 2022. To learn more about the impact the expanded CTC has made to date, see this NPR story from Cory Turner. And, for details on what a permanent expansion of the CTC would mean, especially for low – to moderate – income households, please reference this policy brief from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.