Some people who didn’t file taxes this year may have thousands of dollars waiting for them, and the IRS wants to make sure they can still get that money.
“Families can get the child tax credit for the first time this year even if they don’t owe any taxes and don’t have a job or a business,” an IRS spokesperson told Insider.
Last week, the IRS said it would start sending letters to more than 9 million people and families who are eligible for tax credits but haven’t gotten them because they haven’t filed taxes.
These credits include the increased earned income tax credit, a rebate for the third wave of stimulus payments, and the increased child tax credit, which helped millions of Americans save up to $7,000.
Anna Aurilio, federal campaign director at the Economic Security Project, said that it is unusual that they are trying to get in touch with people who don’t usually file taxes.
By improving and giving out these credits, millions of children were pulled out of poverty. The monthly checks were the first time the U.S. gave parents something that was like a guaranteed income.
Each child could get up to $300. It also added a new logistical problem for the IRS, which was already short on staff, money, and time to process tax returns.
But the way the checks were given out was surprisingly successful. At its peak, Columbia University says, 61.3 million children were fed in a single month.
A June 2021 focus group of 498 people with dependents found that low- and no-income Americans knew about the credit, but non-filers were more likely to have heard “nothing, if anything, about the benefit.” Nearly three-quarters of the parents who didn’t file said they weren’t eligible or didn’t know if they were.
“One thing we’ve learned over the years is that people who are eligible for things like tax credits are often left out,” Aurilio said. This was true even before the American Rescue Package. “They didn’t have access to computers, so this happened. They didn’t know what they needed to know.”
This is one reason for the letters: “Even if you haven’t filed a return in years and don’t usually file, you could be losing money,” Smith said. People who are eligible can use the IRS free file programme or an online portal that works on both mobile and desktop devices and is available in multiple languages.
In a statement, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said, “The IRS wants to remind people who may be eligible, especially families, that they may be eligible for these important tax credits.”
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“Everyone who hasn’t filed their tax return for 2021 yet should think about these options. Even if they don’t have to file taxes, they may still be able to get a number of important tax credits.”
Adam Ruben, who runs the Economic Security Project, says that families could get more than $10,000 if they claim their credits for the enhanced child tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and the third stimulus check.
The messages come at a time when the debate about whether or not to bring back the child tax credit is heating up again. Some parents worried about what would happen next when the checks stopped all of a sudden, especially since inflation was going up so fast.
Due to the Democrats’ razor-thin majority and the need to appease the party’s more moderate members, a law that would have extended the credits ran out of time before it was supposed to.
For now, the IRS wants people who filed but didn’t get their checks to try to get their money back. The IRS says that people can use Free File until November 17th.
“Even though the usual deadline for filing taxes has passed, you can still get these benefits. You will still get your money back in full “Smith said it.
“But in order to get them, you have to fill out a tax return. The good news is that you don’t have to pay a fine if you file late and get a refund.”