The IRS is spreading the word
The Internal Revenue Service estimates over 9 million people who failed to file a tax year 2021 return could qualify for tax credits. This is not the first time the IRS has notified non-filers that they could be eligible for tax credits: the agency alerted 9 million taxpayers about their potential eligibility for Economic Impact Payments in September 2020.
“The special reminder letters, which will be arriving in mailboxes over the next few weeks, are being sent to people who appear to qualify for the Child Tax Credit (CTC), Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC), or Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) but haven’t yet filed a 2021 return to claim them,” the agency explains. “The letter, printed in both English and Spanish, provides a brief overview of each of these three credits.”
For qualified filers, benefits could be substantial
Legislative packages like the American Rescue Plan Act expanded several tax credits for tax year 2021. While the IRS notes that more information on these benefits can be found in FS-2022-10, the agency also listed information in its news release:
- An expanded Child Tax Credit: Families can claim this credit, even if they received monthly advance payments during the last half of 2021. The total credit can be as much as $3,600 per child.
- A more generous Earned Income Tax Credit: The law boosted the EITC for childless workers. There are also changes that can help low- and moderate-income families with children. The credit can be as much as $1,502 for workers with no qualifying children, $3,618 for those with one child, $5,980 for those with two children, and $6,728 for those with at least three children.
- The Recovery Rebate Credit: Those who missed out on last year’s third round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP3) may be eligible to claim the RRC. Often referred to as stimulus payments, this credit can also help eligible people whose EIP3 was less than the full amount, including those who welcomed a child in 2021. The maximum credit is $1,400 for each qualifying adult, plus $1,400 for each eligible child or adult dependent.
- An increased Child and Dependent Care Credit: Families who pay for daycare so they can work or look for work can get a tax credit worth up to $4,000 for one qualifying person and $8,000 for two or more qualifying persons.
- A deduction for gifts to charity: Most tax-filers who take the standard deduction can deduct eligible cash contributions they made during 2021. Married couples filing jointly can deduct up to $600 in cash donations and individuals can deduct up to $300 in donations. In addition, itemizers who make large cash donations often qualify to deduct the full amount in 2021.
The IRS also reminds that these credits will not affect eligibility for a number of government programs:
- Supplemental Security Income
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
Remember, non-filers do not have to wait on their letter to file and claim credits for which they qualify, and there is no penalty for missing the regular April 2022 tax deadline if the return has a refund due.