Congress Wants to Make the Benefit Permanent for All Childless Families
The deadline for millions of Americans who may still need to claim stimulus checks and advance child tax credit payments from 2021 is Nov. 17.
The IRS began issuing letters last month to approximately 9 million Americans who have not claimed benefits such as COVID-19 stimulus payments, the enhanced child tax credit, and the earned income tax credit.
In many of those circumstances, all you need to do is file a 2021 federal income tax return, even if you haven’t had to file one in previous years.
However, you must act quickly.
This year, the IRS Free File tool is available until Thursday, November 17 at midnight Eastern. You can still claim the lost payments after Thursday by completing a federal tax return.
When a federal income tax return is not submitted, most individuals have three years to receive a tax refund under the law. So the deadline on Thursday is only for using the simplified free filing method.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, approximately 165 million Americans have been eligible for the three rounds of stimulus funds allowed by Congress.
However, according to IRS and Treasury data, between 9 and 10 million of those have not received the payments, according to the US Government Accountability Office this week.
According to the G.A.O., the federal government struggled, in particular, to get stimulus cheques and advance child tax credit checks to persons with lower incomes, restricted internet connection, or facing homelessness.
President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package included the enhanced child tax credit. According to the government, some families may be leaving up to $3,600 per child unclaimed, in addition to other payments owed to them.
According to a September Census Bureau study, the enlarged program assisted tens of millions of children and their families throughout the COVID pandemic and contributed to a 46% decrease in child poverty since 2020.
There are already signs that child poverty is increasing since that program ceased. The Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University estimates that 3.7 million additional children were living in poverty in January, a 41% rise from December when families received their last check.