Child Tax Credit

Child Tax Credit Resources for Immigrants and Immigrant-Serving Organizations

The American Rescue Plan expanded the traditional Child Tax Credit program to put money in your hands to ease the financial stress on families from the COVID-19 pandemic.  This page includes important information for immigrants and their families about:

  • Child tax credit eligibility and other important tax benefits
  • How to access these benefits
  • Answers to questions about “public charge” and concerns immigrants may have about accessing tax benefits

In addition to the federal Child Tax Credit, California also provides important tax credits and benefits to workers who file taxes regardless of immigration status, including the Golden State Stimulus and California Earned Income Tax Credit.

Spread the word about the Child Tax Credit

Organizations can help spread the word about the Child Tax Credit by sharing these materials and resources with your network.

Our DCBA Center for Financial Empowerment developed this social media toolkit to help you share the information easily on major social media platforms.

About the Child Tax Credit

What is the Advance Child Tax Credit and how much money can I receive?

Most taxpayers with children will qualify for a Child Tax Credit when completing their income tax returns each year.  For each child you claim, you earn money in a credit, which lowers your taxes.

The Advance Child Tax Credit is a new benefit that provides families up to $250 – 300 each month for each qualifying child from July 15 to December 15, 2021. If you missed the deadline to file your 2020 tax on October 15, 2021, you can still get the tax year 2021 credits if you file by April 15, 2022. If you qualify, you must either file a tax return or provide your information to the IRS to receive the benefit (see below).

Can I qualify for the Child Tax Credit if I file taxes using an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number)?

Yes. If your child meets the eligibility requirements (see below) for the Child Tax Credit, you may claim the credit even if you file your taxes with an ITIN.

Public Charge: Will the Child Tax Credit or other tax credits affect my immigration status?

No!  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has made clear that tax credits are not considered in a public charge determination.  This includes the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax, advanced premium credits under the Affordable Care Act, and California tax credits. You can receive these tax credits without fear that they will impact the immigration status of you or a family member.

  • Visit our Public Charge page for more information about the public charge rule and the benefits considered in a public charge determination.
Will getting Child Tax Credit benefits impact my eligibility for other government assistance?

No.  Receiving Child Tax Credit payments will not change the amount you receive in other Federal and State benefits like unemployment insurance, Medi-Cal, CalFresh, CalWorks, WIC, Section 8 and other public housing assistance, SSI and SSDI. The Child Tax Credit is not considered income for any family. So, these programs do not view tax credits as income that would affect your eligibility.

I have personal debt. Can a debt collector take my Child Tax Credit benefits?

No, not in California. It is illegal for debt collectors, creditors and financial institutions to seize federal Child Tax Credit payments for individual debts in California. Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order that makes it unlawful to garnish any financial assistance provided to individuals as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Attorney General clarified that this includes the Child Tax Credit. If you have concerns about creditors wrongly pursuing your tax credit payments, contact a local Legal Services Provider.

Will overdue taxes affect my Child Tax Credit payments?

Your monthly Advance Child Tax Credit payments will not be taken for overdue taxes from previous years or other federal or state debts that you owe.  But if you get a refund when you file your 2021 tax return, any of the Child Tax Credit amounts included in your return may be used to pay for tax debts or other federal or state debts you owe.

Eligibility: How do I qualify for the Advanced Child Tax Credit?

Taxpayers, including ITIN holders, qualify to receive this Child Tax Credit money if they meet the requirements below:

  • Must have a qualifying child
    • Child under 18 years old and has a valid Social Security number
    • Lived with the taxpayer at least half the year
    • Can be claimed as a dependent on the taxpayer’s tax return
    • Cannot be claim as a dependent in another person’s tax return
    • Is the taxpayer’s son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, half-brother or sister or descendent of any of them
  • Must have a main home in the US for at least half the year
  • Must have filed taxes or provided information to the IRS
  • Must be below certain income thresholds
    • You will not qualify if your income is more than:
      • $400,000 if married filing jointly
      • $200,000 for all other filing statuses
What do I need to do to receive Child Tax Credit benefits?

If you filed a tax return in 2019 or 2020, or if you used the non-filer tool to receive the Economic Impact Payment (“Federal Stimulus”), you do not need to do anything to receive this money.  IRS will automatically send the money to you.

If you did not file a tax return in 2020 or 2021, you should schedule an appointment with a nearby VITA site to get help filing your tax by April 15, 2022. You will receive the credits at once (instead of monthly) when you file your tax year 2021 return in 2022. If you are not required to file a tax return, use the non-filer tool to provide your information to the IRS to receive the money. If you fail to either file a tax return or provide your non-filer info to the IRS, you won’t receive the benefit.

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