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If You Didn’t File Taxes This Year, Here’s How to Sign Up for the Child Tax Credit

The IRS has a new tool designed for those who don't have to file taxes but still deserve the enhanced child tax credit.

Update September 3, 2021: The Biden administration just launched a brand-new, easier-to-use, and mobile-friendly tool that makes it easier for non-filers to access the child tax credit money they’re entitled to. Here’s what you need to know.

The millions of Americans who aren’t required to file a tax refund are still eligible for the new and improved child tax credit included in the American Rescue Plan signed into law by Joe Biden in March. And in lieu of forcing them to complete a tax return—an unnecessarily complicated process—the IRS has created an online tool to gather information and disburse child tax credit payments to the non-filers who deserve them.

Here’s How to Sign Up

The Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool is for people who weren’t required to, and didn’t, file a 2020 tax return but who still had a main home in the United States for more than half of the year.

All you need is some basic information: name, address, email address, date of birth, and the Social Security numbers or other taxpayer IDs for filer and dependents. And if you received an Identity Protection PIN earlier this year, you’ll need that too.

Optional (but highly recommended) fields for bank routing and account numbers are also available for those who’d like to receive their payments via direct deposit, a much faster and easier method than snail mail.

With this information, the form essentially allows those who don’t have to file their taxes to create a simplified tax return, skipping over all of the sections that are only relevant to those who are required to file taxes.

Because the form covers the tax year 2020, if you had (or adopted) a kid in 2021 it won’t allow you to claim the child tax credit. Another online tool, the child tax credit portal, will eventually go online (hopefully before the first payment goes out on July 15) and give all those with dependents space to claim them.

In addition to the child tax credit, the tool will also calculate and ensure that non-filers receive both the first and second stimulus payments they’re entitled to.

According to the IRS, over 2.2 million children may qualify for the new child tax credit but not receive funds because they were not claimed on recent tax returns. At a minimum of $3,000 per year per dependent, that adds up to $6.6 billion in potentially unclaimed funds that this tool will hopefully help get into the pockets of the American parents who most need them.