How to get the Child Tax Credit if you didn't file your taxes

·Personal finance writer
·3 min read

Families who weren’t required to file a federal tax return but are still eligible for the Child Tax Credit or any missing stimulus payments will able to claim these starting in May.

Since 2020, simplified filing has allowed low-income families to file basic information with the Internal Revenue Service to get stimulus payments without fully filing tax returns. However, access to these online forms — IRS Non-Filer and GetCTC — wasn't available until after the tax season ended on April 18, per Treasury regulation.

Recently, several news outlets erroneously reported that the White House temporarily took down these services for non-filers over concerns that taxpayers — specifically Child Tax Credit recipients — would essentially file twice to get the credit.

“Nothing was taken down, because nothing has gone up yet,” Gabriel Zucker, associate policy director for tax benefits at Code for America, told Yahoo Money. “Simplified filing, as it has existed in the last two years, doesn't run during the traditional tax filing season.”

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 2: Teddy bears, meant to represent West Virginia children, appear on the National Mall during an event with the Unbearable Campaign to urge Congress to expand the Child Tax Credit on Wednesday, February 2, 2022. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Teddy bears, meant to represent West Virginia children, appear on the National Mall during an event with the Unbearable Campaign to urge Congress to expand the Child Tax Credit on Wednesday, February 2, 2022. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Code for America, which launched GetCTC in collaboration with the White House and the IRS, introduced the simplified filing tool in September last year. GetCTC was available until Nov. 15 — the date all e-file products were taken offline because the IRS was no longer accepting tax returns for the year.

“Once the tax season is over, we’ll have another option (simplified filing) available for folks that weren’t able to get through that full return tax processing," Zucker said. "We’re looking forward to launching GetCTC in early May and then we’ll have six months to get as many people as we can to file full returns."

How simplified filing works

Simplified filing allows more families — including those with little to no income — to claim tax benefits such as the Child Tax Credit and past stimulus payments.

Households that haven’t claimed the advanced CTC could get up to $3,600 per child under the age of 17 this year by filling out basic information on the IRS Non-filer tool.

“The Child Tax Credit was without a doubt one of the best social policy experiments. It’s been the most effective anti-poverty tool in recent years,” Greg Nasif, chief spokesperson for Humanity Forward, told Yahoo Money. “It went to every eligible household that filed their taxes, almost all of them automatically. It even reached families that needed it the most. The [GetCTC] portal really helped get more families on board by just registering simple information to the IRS.”

(Photo: Getty Creative)
(Photo: Getty Creative)

Last year, free online tools such as the GetCTC and the IRS Non-Filer helped millions of lower-earning Americans — those making less than $12,400 individually and $24,800 for couples — to claim thousands of dollars in economic relief payments.

To claim the CTC using those portals, you’ll need to submit some personal information, including your full legal name, your Social Security number or ITIN, and date of birth. You also need to submit the SSN of your qualifying children.

Additionally, the IRS will request a mailing address, email address, and banking information. If you don’t have a permanent address, you can list a trusted address to receive your check, such as your local shelter or transitional housing program. You may also submit the mailing address of a trusted relative or friend, according to the White House.

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Gabriella is a personal finance reporter at Yahoo Money. Follow her on Twitter @__gabriellacruz.

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