The Internal Revenue Service on Monday launched a new tool to help some qualified families register to receive the up to $3,600-per-child tax credits that are set to start going out July 15.
Here’s what to know about the tool, including how it works and who should use it.
What is the Non-filer Sign-up Tool?
The free tool is designed for families who don’t normally file a tax return but who qualify for the monthly child tax credit payments, the IRS says.
It allows eligible families to provide the IRS with the information needed for it to “figure and issue” the payments.
“The tool enables them to provide required information about themselves, their qualifying children age 17 and under, their other dependents, and their direct deposit bank information so the IRS can quickly and easily deposit the payments directly into their checking or savings account,” the IRS says.
It can also help eligible individuals receive their $1,400 stimulus checks, which were included in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package signed into law in March, and help them claim recovery rebate credits if they did not receive the full amounts for the previous rounds of stimulus payments.
The IRS warns that using the new tool and filing a tax return are the only ways to receive the child tax credits or stimulus checks. It says “any other option is a scam.”
Who should use the tool?
The tool is for those who did not file an income tax return in 2019 or 2020 and who did not use the IRS’s non-filer tool last year to claim a stimulus check.
“Often, these are individuals and families who receive little or no income, including those experiencing homelessness and other underserved groups,” the IRS says.
Most families eligible for the enhanced child tax credits do not need to take action.
“Eligible families who already filed or plan to file 2019 or 2020 income tax returns should not use this tool,” the IRS says. “Once the IRS processes their 2019 or 2020 tax return, the information will be used to determine eligibility and issue advance payments.”
Those who want to claim other benefits for low- and moderate-income families should also file a tax return instead of using the tool, the IRS says.
“For them, the fastest and easiest way to file a return is the Free File system, available only on IRS.gov,” it says.
How to use the tool
The Non-filer Sign-up Tool can be found here.
Those using the tool will need to provide their full name, mailing address, email address, date of birth, the social security numbers for them and their dependents, bank account information if they have it and their Identity Protection Personal Identification Number if they’ve received one from the IRS.
“After giving us your information and we determine you’re eligible, you do not need to do anything to receive the advance payments,” the IRS says.
About the child tax credits
The temporary enhanced child tax credits were included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
They provide families with $3,600 per child under age 6 and $3,000 per child ages 6 to 17 in tax benefits over the course of a year. Eligible families will start receiving monthly payments of up to $300 on July 15 through the end of the year. The other half of the benefits can be claimed on income taxes at the end of the year.
Single parents making up to $75,000 a year and couples making up to $150,000 a year are eligible for the full benefit. Benefits are phased out after that.