Advocates urge families to avoid missing out on child tax credit


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The deadline for filing tax returns with the IRS this year is April 18, and it’s fast approaching. Authorities are making a last-ditch push to get people to file this year — even if they don’t normally file taxes — so they can take advantage of the child tax credit and other benefits made available in due to the pandemic.

Failure to claim the Child Tax Credit could leave thousands of dollars on the table that should instead end up in the bank accounts of those who need it most.

“We really want people to apply for the child tax credit. That’s tons of money for Philadelphia families. There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t deposit that money at home,” said Sarah Martinez, legal assistant at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.

The maximum credit payment for a family with children over age 6 is $3,000 per child, depending on income. And for a family with children under 6, the maximum payment is $3,600 per child, also based on income.

“A lot of people in Philadelphia make less than $75,000 or less than $150,000 for a joint filing, so they should qualify for that full amount for their children,” Martinez said.

Since the pandemic hit, CLS has been working with people to help them claim stimulus checks they may have missed. Now they want to make sure people take advantage of the child tax credit. Taxpayers who received advance payments last year will need to file this year to claim the remaining amount. And for eligible taxpayers who haven’t received anything so far, the deposit is a must.

Those earning less than their standard deduction and, in most cases, those receiving Social Security benefits typically do not file taxes. However, anyone who missed any or all of the stimulus checks that were rolled out in 2020 and 2021, as well as anyone eligible for the child tax credit, should file this year to get what is owed to them.

Martinez says the Campaign For Working Families group has been a big help for those who can’t afford to pay for a tax preparer.

“For the most part, most of our clients, if you’re low income, will be eligible to file a free tax return through them,” Martinez said. “But most families in Philadelphia can do it.”

Eligible individuals can file $0 tax returns for these payments – no IRS Form 1040 or IRS 1099 is required.

“For people filing zero dollar tax returns, especially just for stimulus checks and child tax credit, they may delay filing, it will just be harder to find someone to help you. “, Martinez said.

People who need last minute help can call the CLS hotline at 215-981-3700.

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