According to the charity organisation that built it in collaboration with the Biden administration, an online portal designed to help very low-income households access the enhanced Child Tax Credit reopened Wednesday.
Code for America also stated that it would work with state benefits agencies to reach out to families who may not be aware that they are qualified for the federal programme.
The GetCTC portal was taken offline earlier this year because of worries that it might generate confusion during tax season.
Even though the filing season is over and the CTC expansion is set to expire at the end of 2021, those who qualify can still receive their benefits.
However, they must file a simplified tax return, which may be tough for many who make insufficient funds to file an annual return — less than $25,100 for married couples and $12,550 for single filers.
The newly rebuilt GetCTC platform is designed to assist recipients in navigating the process by requiring only the information needed to tap the child credits on a return. Recipients can also claim any money owed them under the Covid-19 pandemic economic stimulus funds approved by Congress.
In a statement, Code for America stated, “This assists low-income families who typically face challenges when submitting tax returns that demand more, and often confusing, documentation.”
“GetCTC’s user-friendly, interview-style structure walks clients through the criteria that apply by prompting them to answer one question at a time.”
The enlarged CTC, a flagship Democratic policy that increased payments and expanded eligibility to millions more families, was given in two instalments. Direct payments were sent for six months, after which recipients could claim the remaining funds by filing a tax return.
GetCTC was first introduced in September 2021 to assist people who were unfamiliar with the filing process and has since been utilised to claim benefits by over 115,000 families, according to Code for America.
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However, the Biden administration shut down the portal in March, citing concerns that it would complicate an already onerous tax filing season if people who were required to submit a regular return accessed it.
The decision disappointed low-income supporters and marked a blow for Democrats, who want to make the credit expansion permanent but are facing stiff opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), whose vote is required.
The initial rollout of GetCTC “was a successful proof of concept,” according to David Newville, Code for America’s senior programme director for tax benefits.
People who are eligible can utilise the web to claim the CTC as well as any money owed them from the third wave of pandemic economic stimulus payments, which were worth up to $1,400 per family member.