Many Northwest Indiana residents are eligible to claim the Child Tax Credit (CTC) but may not realize it, due to recently-expanded eligibility requirements that are more inclusive of immigrant and lower-income filers. Legacy Foundation has partnered with the South Shore Neighborhood Development Corporation, Urban League of Northwest Indiana and FAITH CDC to assist residents who are eligible to receive the CTC but were not required to file taxes.
“Growing up, I can remember the month gap. The month gap means we had more month than money and more days than dollars. Because of the gap, sometimes we had to miss meals and live without heat, lights, and water. Those were not pleasant days,” said Curtis Whittaker of FAITH CDC. “That’s why I’m encouraging families in Lake County, who are not currently receiving this credit, to apply immediately. This credit can be the difference between a child going to bed cold or warm, or hungry or full; and can help reduce or even eliminate a family’s month gap,” Whittaker said.
Eligible families can receive a payment of up to $300 per month for each child under age 6, and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 to 17.
To provide financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 American Rescue Plan expanded the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) to more filers by making the credit fully refundable, meaning that even if taxpayers don’t owe income tax, the IRS will issue them a refund if they’re eligible; but they must file a tax return or register with the new Non-filer Sign-up Tool to receive it.
“New additions to the family, including newborn, adopted, and foster children may be eligible; there are no minimum earning requirements to be eligible; the remaining balance of the credit may be fully refundable to low/no income families; and there is no repayment risk to fully eligible families,” said Tasha Miller, a volunteer with Urban League of Northwest Indiana’s VITA program.
Northwest Indiana residents may be eligible to receive the CTC if:
• They are under the income limit ($240,000 for single filers and head of household, and $440,000 for married filing jointly.)
• They have an ITIN or a Social Security Number
• They can claim a qualifying child
In order to claim their Child Tax Credit, Lake County, Ind. residents should visit www.GetCTC.org/Legacy before November 15, 2021. You can also contact one of the following local sites if you need assistance completing your application.
• Donna Catalano at South Shore Neighborhood Development Corporation: 219-736-1880
• Tersina Jones at Urban League of Northwest Indiana: 219-239-2892
Claiming the CTC will not affect an individual’s immigration status or other benefits. The IRS does not share citizenship information with immigration or any other federal agency and receiving stimulus checks or tax credits is never considered under the public charge rule.
Legacy Foundation received a grant of $50,000 from the EITC Funders Network to help families access the Child Tax Credit in Lake County. Legacy Foundation is providing a $50,000 match to convene and support community partners that can help connect families to the credits.
Virtual, free tax filing assistance is available to anyone earning $66,000 or less at www.getyourrefund.org.