This comes as a result of the American Rescue Plan. While the credit is not new, the amount parents will receive has increased. In addition, they will receive half, paid out in monthly installments, through the end of the year.
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Michael Devine with the Internal Revenue Service said parents with children under the age of 17 are eligible. The credit is up to $3600 for children under six and up to $3000 for children between the ages of 6 and 17.
The agency has already sent out about 36 million letters to families believed to be eligible for the child tax credit based on information they provided in a previous tax return.
"What we want to do is make sure that people who are not normally tax return filers let the IRS know their information. They can do that by going to our website irs.gov," Levine said.
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While the credits could be as high as $3600 total, the monthly payments will amount to about $250 to $300 a month. Director of Government Affairs at the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago Mitch Lifson said that could have a significant impact for some families, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The child tax credit should one, combat some of the income lost by households across the state, but hopefully, what it will also do is help create greater equity in terms of what families are facing when it comes to economic circumstances," Lifson said.
Get My Payment IL Coalition is a group working to improve awareness of the expanded child tax credit. Christine Cheng, who is with the group, said there is discussions underway to extend it beyond 2021.
"This money is so, so critical especially for families who have very low or no earned income and who previously weren't even eligible for the child tax credits, so the funding that is involved with the expansion of this credit is so very critical for so many families to meet basic needs, to save for the future, to really make ends meet, so it's certainly going to be very important if we can lobby for an extension of this expansion," Cheng said.
People can visit www.getmypaymentil.org to see if they are eligible for Economic Impact Payments or stimulus checks from the federal government. They can also call the hotline at 888-553-9777.
Additionally, people can visit https://www.voices4kids.org/ for resources and information.