As we noted in prior articles, Congress has made substantial changes to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for 2021.
For taxpayers who have their main homes in the United States for more than half of the tax year and bona fide residents of Puerto Rico, the CTC is fully refundable. However, it does begin to phase out for higher income taxpayers once their modified adjusted gross income, based on their filing status, exceeds:
New for 2021 is a provision that allows advance payments to eligible taxpayers of one half of the estimated 2021 CTC in monthly payments (July through December). The monthly advance payments will be estimated based on a taxpayer’s 2020 tax return, or their 2019 tax return if 2020 information is not available. All qualifying families are automatically enrolled for advanced payments. Payments will be by check or direct deposit.
The IRS, on June 15th, unveiled an online tool that allows eligible families who don’t make enough income to have an income tax return-filing obligation to provide the IRS the basic information needed—name, address, and Social Security numbers—to figure and issue their Advance Child Tax Credit payments.
This tool will also be enhanced in the near future allowing taxpayers to check their eligibility for the CTC and to unenroll from advanced payments if they prefer not to receive the credit in advance.
The IRS is sending out letters – some 36 million – to those taxpayers that they believe are eligible for the advance payments. You may have already received a letter. There will be a follow-up letter that gives more personalized information as to the estimated amount of payment the taxpayer will be eligible for. Be sure to save any letters you receive from the IRS!
Watch Out for Scams -The IRS also urges everyone to be on the lookout for scams related to both the Advance Child Tax Credit payments and Economic Impact Payments. The only way to get these benefits is by either filing a tax return with the IRS or registering online through the Non-filer Sign-up tool, exclusively on IRS.gov. Any other option is a scam.
Watch out for scams using email, phone calls or texts related to the payments. Be careful and cautious: The IRS never sends unsolicited electronic communications asking anyone to open attachments or visit a non-governmental web site.
If you have any questions, please give this office a call at (616) 957-2055.