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Treasury launches website to help millions collect at least $1,500 at refund time

The site features a new tool that directs taxpayers to filing options, eligibility information and instructions on how to get the credit.

WASHINGTON — The federal government launched a revamped website Monday — the first day of tax filing season — to help people who were eligible for the expanded child tax credit under last year's pandemic relief bill claim the second half of the payment they were due.

The site, ChildTaxCredit.gov, features a new tool that directs taxpayers to filing options, eligibility information and instructions on how to get the credit, according to the Treasury Department. Both virtual and in-person support will be provided in multiple languages.

The American Rescue Plan, passed in March 2021, increased the annual child tax credit to $3,600 for children under age 6 and $3,000 for kids age 6-17. From July through December 2021, eligible Americans were allowed to receive up to half the money in the form of monthly payments -- $300 for kids under 6 and $250 for children 6-17. 

For eligible children at the lower age range, parents who took all the monthly payments they were eligible for could get the other half at tax time -- $1,500-$1,800 per child, depending on age. 

That's assuming the parents fell at or under the income limits in 2021 -- $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples who file taxes jointly.

Those parents who opted out of the monthly payments or who added a child in 2021 and didn't report it to the IRS are eligible to get the full amount.

Since the payments were first disbursed in July, Treasury and the IRS have issued roughly $93 billion to tens of millions of families, according to Treasury. And in December, 61 million children received the enhanced benefits.

The enhanced portion of the child tax credit program has since lapsed. For tax year 2022, the child tax payment reverts to $2,000 annually per qualifying child.

The Biden administration has proposed extending the enhanced child tax credit for an additional year in its roughly $2 trillion social spending plan, but that bill is stalled in Congress.

“As tax filing season begins, Treasury’s priority is ensuring that eligible families are able to receive the full Child Tax Credit,” Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in a written statement.

“This relief has helped families pay for essentials when they needed it most and by getting the second half, or the full amount, of the credit millions of children can continue to benefit,” he said.

On a Monday call with reporters and tax professionals, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig reiterated the importance of taxpayers filing accurate tax forms electronically and the efficiency of requesting direct deposit refunds.

Travis Pittman contributed to this report.

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