Many peoples’ understanding of the intricate and complex American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress which provided for a 1.9 trillion dollar economic stimulus package is limited to the legislation being the source of a third stimulus check payment of up to $1,400. However, beginning on July 15th and continuing monthly until December of 2021, ARPA provides for monthly payments to eligible families. These payments will be an advance on the families’ child tax credit. Eligible people will get up to half of their child tax credit in these monthly payments and the other half when they file their 2021 federal income tax returns. Payments will total up to $3,000 for each qualifying child between the ages of 6 and 17 and payments of $3,600 for each qualifying child under the age of 6. The best place to go for detailed information about this program and determining if you qualify is the IRS’ website through this link. https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021.
The good news is that if you do qualify for these payments, you do not have to do anything to get them. You do not have to specifically apply for them. The bad news is that, just like we found with the federal government’s stimulus payments to individuals during the last year, scammers will be contacting people posing as government officials promising to help people get these payments. The scammers, however will be asking for personal information they will use for purposes of identity theft or asking for payments in order to process a person’s eligibility for this benefit. The truth is that neither the IRS, which will be administering the program, nor any other federal agency will be contacting people on the phone, email, text message or through social media to help you get your child tax credit and there is no fee to be eligible for the program.
If you are eligible the amount of your payment will be based on information in your 2020 federal income tax return so if you got an extension for filing of your 2020 federal income tax return, you should file it as soon as possible to avoid problems. Filing electronically with a direct deposit into your bank account of any refund will speed up getting your refund as well as any of the child tax credit payments.
If you are contacted by phone, email, text message or through social media by anyone purporting to be from the federal government offering to help you get your child tax credit payments, you can be sure that they are a scammer and you should not respond to them. Do not provide personal information to anyone contacting you in these ways offering to assist you in your claim and certainly do not pay them anything to enroll in the program. No payment is required to be eligible.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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