For the first time, the IRS will distribute checks to those who have not filed federal income tax as part of their expanded Child Tax Credit program.
Families eligible will receive checks of up to $1,800 between July 15 and December however, the tax credit has a wrinkle that may prompt some families to bypass the federal program.
President Joe Biden signed the enhanced Child Tax Credit bill into law June 21, which he called Child Tax Credit Awareness Day in which children advocates,  faith-based organizations and elected officials held events to make people aware of the program.
“ For parents working to make ends meet and raise their children with greater security, dignity, and opportunity, help is here,” Biden said. “ On this Child Tax Credit Awareness day, let us all work together to make sure that the help that is here reaches those who most need it, this year and for years to come.”
The action increases the benefit from a $2,000 credit, taken annually when you file your taxes, to $3,600 per child and in communities like Néw Carrollton the checks are a welcome relief.
“The tax credits are very important because many of the residents have food insecurity and basic necessities,” said New Carrollron Mayor Phelecia Nembhard. “We are still feeding thousands weekly but the need is so great.”
In terms of the tax credit half of the disbursements will be divided into six payments to be paid out in cash, on a monthly basis, from July through December, and the rest will be claimed on individual 2021 tax returns.
The IRS offers guidance at ChildTaxCredit.Gov.  in English and Spanish, as well as a link to help families sign up.
“We want every eligible family in D.C. to benefit from President Biden’s expansion of the Child Tax Credit, ” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said on June 21. “Whether it is rent relief or the expanded Child Tax Credit, we know that these investments will only help our families if people know about them and know how to access them. Let’s work together to spread the word in D.C. and get all families the relief they need to recover.”
From the Arch in southeast D.C. to city hall in New Carrollton, long lines of people and cars continue to line up for fresh produce and boxes of food that are donated by grocers and organizations across the area.
“Nearly all families in Maryland should receive their monthly payment beginning July 15 without any further action required,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in a statement July 8. “However, families that don’t usually file tax returns should register for the Child Tax Credit and update important information by using the IRS Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool today.”
Hoyer said, “These monthly payments will be critical to improving the well-being of our families, and I will continue working hard to ensure that struggling households have the resources they need to get ahead.”

Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the...

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