Help Families Understand Their Potential Tax Benefits
The materials on this page will help you share important information about tax benefits like the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. By sharing information, our hope is that more individuals and families will file taxes to receive what they are eligible for.
Even if you or your organization don’t speak directly to people, you can use these materials to educate families and people of low to moderate income about their potential tax benefits. Included are key messages, print and digital materials, and social media assets that have been reviewed for clarity and accuracy. We will update this page throughout tax filing season, which ends on April 18, 2022. Eligible families with qualifying children will receive the full amount of their tax benefits if they file a tax return by this deadline, although some people who don’t owe taxes have longer to file.
Help People Understand the Child Tax Credit & Earned Income Tax Credit
Even if you don’t speak directly to people, you can use these materials to help educate families and workers about their potential to receive all of their tax benefits. These resources include print materials and digital content for use on websites and social media.
Download and print these materials to communicate important information that families need to know about the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.
Help People Get Their Full Benefits
Messaging campaigns such as text and SMS have been effective in connecting residents to the support they need to file their taxes and get crucial tax benefits.
As a government leader, you can help your benefits recipients, constituents, and employees get all the tax benefits they are eligible for by providing accurate, actionable messages to raise awareness and help people find free tools to file their taxes.
Research shows that outreach from trusted government sources increases public participation in tax credit and benefit programs. The resources in this section can help you quickly and easily communicate to residents about tax benefits and the steps they can take to access these tax benefits.
Resources for Successful Communication
You don’t need to be a tax expert to provide useful information to beneficiaries, constituents, and employees. Here are some messages drafted by the Treasury Department that can be modified to support your outreach campaigns or reflect any key messages that may resonate with your audience.
- Even if you don’t normally make enough money to have to pay taxes, you may be eligible to receive thousands of dollars in tax credits if you file your tax return this year. Visit www.ChildTaxCredit.gov/triage to find reliable information and free tools to file a return before the April 18, 2022 deadline. – U.S. Treasury
- When you file your 2021 tax return, you will receive all of the 2021 Child Tax Credit that you are eligible for. Even if you received monthly Child Tax Credit payments in 2021, you will likely be eligible for additional money. Visit www.ChildTaxCredit.gov/triage to find reliable information and free tools to file a return before the April 18, 2022 deadline. – U.S. Treasury.
- Whether or not you received Earned Income Tax Credits or monthly Child Tax Credit payments, you may still be eligible for more money. Visit www.ChildTaxCredit.gov/triage to find reliable information and free tools to file a return before the April 18, 2022 deadline. – U.S. Treasury.
- Don’t miss out on the Child Tax Credit. If you already received monthly Child Tax Credit payments, filing your taxes will help you get the second half of your Child Tax Credit. If you don’t normally make enough money to file taxes, filing your taxes this year will get you tax benefits for each of your children. Visit www.ChildTaxCredit.gov/triage to find reliable information and free tools to file a return before the April 18, 2022 deadline. – U.S. Treasury
Subject Line: Have You Received All of Your 2021 Child and Income Tax Credits?
A message from the U.S. Treasury:
Thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, tax credits for American families and workers are historically large for the 2021 tax year. Are you confident you’re aware of all the tax credits for which you are eligible?
To be absolutely sure you get all the help and support these tax credits can provide, you must file your 2021 taxes. Even if you don’t normally file your taxes and didn’t earn enough income to be required to file taxes in 2021, you should still file a tax return.
The tax benefits you may potentially receive can help you invest in your future, or your family’s future. These tax credits are not considered income for any family or worker, so they will not change the amount you receive from any other Federal benefits, including unemployment insurance, Medicaid, SNAP (formerly food stamps), SSI, SSDI, TANF, WIC, Section 8, or Public Housing. Claiming these tax credits will also not affect immigration status, ability to get a green card, or your future eligibility for immigration benefits.
There are no limitations or restrictions on how you can spend your Child Tax Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit. You simply must file a tax return by April 18, 2022. And it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Visit www.ChildTaxCredit.gov/triage for more information and free tools to file a return before the April 18, 2022 deadline. – U.S. Treasury.
Downloadable and Printable Resources
Tips for Conducting Successful Outreach
- Make sure that all communications are action-oriented, deadline-oriented, and frequent. There is evidence that communication that encourages individuals to act (e.g., by going to www.ChildTaxCredit.gov/triage) are more effective than simply alerting individuals to the existence of a benefit
- Messaging should be clear that the CTC will not need to be paid back by eligible filers, nor will it affect an individual’s access to other federal or state benefits (e.g., Medicaid, TANF, SNAP). It should also make clear that if individuals apply for the CTC, it will not impact any ongoing or future immigration proceeding.
- States and cities should focus on partnering with local community-based organizations, which may be able to amplify the message and leverage the strong bonds of trust they have in local communities.
- States and cities should use a range of messengers, including benefits agencies and school districts to get out the word. A consistent approach across government can help ensure that residents receive a more reliable and trustworthy message.
- Update government websites with CTC banners routing to childtaxcredit.gov. At www.ChildTaxCredit.gov, users will be able to find information about the CTC, as well as resources for filing assistance in their local communities or online.
- Include information about the CTC on utility bills and payment reminders (e.g. water, gas, electricity bills and/or public housing rent bills). In past years the Detroit Water and Sewage Department has included EITC awareness messages on water bills in March, prior to April tax deadlines.
See What Others Have Done
Several states and cities have been conducting tax credit outreach for years. We’ve seen email and text message campaigns successfully increase enrollment rates for individuals receiving benefits.
Example: State of Massachusetts Text Message Campaign
Context: The state of Massachusetts wanted to make sure that low-income households were taking advantage of new benefits under the expanded Child Tax Credit
Intervention: The state’s Department of Transitional Assistance partnered with FindYourFunds.Org to send text messages in 6 languages to 439K SNAP households. Here is what they sent through outreach efforts conducted in 2021 and 2022:
(MA example): You may be eligible for federal dollars. If you worked in 2021, you could get about $2100 with the Earned Income Tax Credit. Get up to $3600/ child with the Child Tax Credit. To get these funds, file taxes even if you have low or no income or haven’t filed before. This money does not count for DTA benefits. Free help: findyourfunds.org/dta
Impact: Over a one-week period after their second text was sent, there were 865 accepted returns on GetCTC.org with an average refund of more than $4,100 received per family.
Example: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) – text campaign
Context: MDHHS wanted to increase the number of low-income Michiganders filing their taxes to receive tax credits and economic impact payments.
Intervention: The Michigan Health Department partnered with experts in human centered design at the University of Michigan to create motivating text messages sent to families who were eligible for the Child Tax Credit in the city of Detroit. In all, the Department sent three rounds of text messages.
Impact: This 2021 outreach campaign saw a 30-fold increase in visits to the campaign website and an 8x increase in appointments at tax filing clinics.
Example: New York City email outreach
Context: New York City wanted to increase end of season tax filings
Intervention: The city emailed its own 400,000 employees to make them aware of the Child Tax Credit and to encourage them to file and make friends and family aware of the benefits.
Impact: The email campaign resulted in a substantial increase the overall number of New York based tax filings.
Use These Materials to Share With Your Social Audience
Sharing links to this website is an easy way to help people learn about these additional tax benefits. You may post links directly in your social media feed, or use the cards below to share various messages with your followers.
You can insert the images below into newsletters, blogs, email newsletters, and social media posts to help get the word out about these resources. We encourage all social media posts to these hashtags #GetYourTaxCredits #ChildTaxCredit #CTC #EITC. It is always helpful to include the ChildTaxCredit.gov URL, as well.
Key Messages to Share
- The new Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit are bigger than ever.
- The Child Tax Credit was increased and expanded in 2021 by the American Rescue Plan, and most families are eligible to receive the credit for their children. For families with kids, the 2021 Child Tax Credit is $3,000-$3,600 per kid, based on their age.
- This year, for the first time, the Earned Income Tax Credit can be worth up to $1,500 for some workers without kids at home — nearly triple the credit in 2020 because of changes made by the American Rescue Plan.
- Filing a tax return is the best way to receive the full Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Many families received about half of their CTC in monthly payments in 2021. Families will get the rest of the CTC they are owed by filing taxes this year. ChildTaxCredit.gov can help.
- Free tax help is available to file tax returns – go to ChildTaxCredit.gov to learn more.
Help Your Audience With Clear, Concise & Accurate Information
Thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, there is more money available to families and people with low to moderate incomes. Families can enjoy an increased Child Tax Credit and workers can receive a larger Earned Income Tax Credit. Here are the biggest changes to these tax credits this year:
- The Child Tax Credit increased, from $2,000 to either $3,000 or $3,600, depending on the child’s age and the income of their parents or guardians.
- Most families got half of what the IRS estimated would be their Child Tax Credit in advanced monthly payments from July to December 2021.
- The Earned Income Tax Credit increased to $1,500 for some workers without qualifying kids at home. This is nearly three times as much as previous years.
To get these remaining credits, families and workers must file their taxes.
Some People Are Skeptical or Have Questions About These Benefits
The changes to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit are new this year and a lot of people don’t know how the benefits work. Focus group testing showed that some parents were skeptical of signing up for advanced Child Tax Credit payments and claiming the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit because they seemed “too good to be true.”
Families and workers also have questions about how these tax benefits may impact their tax filing, immigration status, or eligibility for other federal benefits. These uncertainties are understandable, but they may prevent those who would benefit the most from receiving additional money. As a community partner or stakeholder, you can help us encourage people to file their taxes and enjoy the full tax credits for which they are eligible.
Below is important information about the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Information About the Child Tax Credit
Filing Taxes Is How Families and Workers Can Get Their Full Child Tax Credit Benefits
This is true regardless of whether a family got stimulus payments or monthly Child Tax Credit payments in 2021, or no payments at all. Filing a tax return before the April 18, 2022 deadline will provide eligible families with qualifying children the remainder of their Child Tax Credit – or all of it, if they received no monthly Child Tax Credit payments during 2021.
The Child Tax Credit Is Fully Refundable and Does Not Count as Income for Any Family
The monthly Child Tax Credit payments that families received in 2021 are not considered income. Neither is the remaining (or entire) amount of Child Tax Credit that a family may receive when they file their 2021 taxes. This means that receiving Child Tax Credit benefits will not change the amount a family may receive from other Federal benefits, including unemployment insurance, Medicaid, SNAP (formerly food stamps), SSI, SSDI, TANF, WIC, Section 8, or Public Housing.
Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments Have Stopped in 2022
President Biden has proposed extending the expanded Child Tax Credit including monthly payments for at least 2022, but this would require new legislation to be passed. Until or unless such legislation is passed, there will be no monthly Child Tax Credit payments in 2022 or future years. However, families can still file taxes this season to receive the remainder of their 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit and their whole Earned Income Tax Credit.
Child Tax Credit Payments Can Be Used for Anything
There are no limitations or restrictions on how parents may choose to spend their Child Tax Credit. Whether it is for essentials like clothing, food, or bills, or saving for their kid’s future, the choice is theirs.
Grandparents and Other Legal Guardians Are Eligible for the Child Tax Credit
Anyone, including grandparents who are legal guardians, may be eligible for the Child Tax Credit. Learn more about eligibility requirements.
Information About the Earned Income Tax Credit
Many Families Who Are Eligible for the Child Tax Credit Are Also Eligible for Other Benefits Like the Earned Income Tax Credit
The Earned Income Tax Credit is the federal government’s largest refundable tax credit for low- to moderate-income families. For 2021 only, the maximum credit has nearly tripled for some workers, and for the first time ever is available to both younger workers and senior citizens who were previously excluded.
The Earned Income Tax Credit Is Expanded to Include Workers Without Children at Home
More workers, senior citizens, and couples who don’t have qualifying children are eligible to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit. As a result, over 17 million Americans may benefit from this expanded credit, including young workers who aren’t half-time students and workers 65 and older.
More Workers With Qualifying Children Can Claim the Earned Income Tax Credit Because the American Rescue Plan Increased the Income Limits
Among those without children who qualify for purposes of the credit, single workers with incomes below $21,430 and married couples with up to $27,380 can claim this credit when they file their tax return. In 2020, those limits were $15,820 for single workers and $21,710 for married couples.
The Earned Income Tax Credit Is Fully Refundable and Does Not Count as Income
The Earned Income Tax Credit is not considered income, and receiving it will not impact anyone’s eligibility for other federal benefits such as unemployment insurance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, SDI, TANF, WIC, Section 8, or Public Housing.
We have a full page on the Earned Income Tax Credit for anyone with more specific questions about this tax credit.