A deadline is approaching for more than 9 million people eligible for pandemic-era benefits

More than 9 million individuals and families who typically don’t file taxes — likely due to low income — have received letters from the IRS reminding them of their likely eligibility for several tax credits amid the pandemic . Now, a filing deadline is approaching this week.

In an effort to reach the 9 million individuals and families who had not filed a 2021 return, the IRS sent letters in English and Spanish informing them of three credits: the 2021 Recovery Refund Credit , Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). They were part of credits that were extended under the American Rescue Plan Act, PL 117-2, in 2021 and other laws.

In October, the IRS said it would leave Free File open for an additional month, until November 17, so eligible taxpayers could claim their share of those benefits.

While the IRS hopes eligible people will file their returns for free by Thursday, “some people will inevitably learn of the opportunity too late,” IRS spokesman Eric Smith said Monday. “For them, as has been the case, by law, for many years, we remind them that they have a three-year statute of limitations to file a return and claim a refund. For a 2021 return, this means that, in most cases, the window closes on April 15, 2025.”

Individuals and families can often take advantage of these expanded tax benefits even if they have little or no income, so many people who don’t normally need to file taxes should do so this year if they wish to apply for the credits.

Individuals with an annual income of less than $73,000 can file online for free using Free File.

People can also file a 2021 tax return at ChildTaxCredit.gov. Individuals with incomes under $12,500 and couples with incomes under $25,000 may be able to file a simple tax return to claim the 2021 recovery refund credit – which covers any payment amount stimulus from 2021 that they might have missed – and the CTC.

The IRS provided these details on all three credits:

  • An extension CTC: Families can claim this credit even if they received monthly advance payments in the last half of 2021. The total credit can be up to $3,600 per child.
  • A more generous EITC: The law strengthened the EITC for childless workers. There are also changes that can help low- and middle-income families with children. The credit can reach $1,502 for workers without eligible 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 last year’s third round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP3) may be eligible to apply for the Recovery Rebate Credit. Often referred to as stimulus payments, this credit can also be claimed by eligible individuals whose EIP3 was less than the full amount, including those who welcomed a child in 2021. The maximum credit is $1,400 for each eligible adult, plus $1,400 for each eligible child. or dependent adult.

Further details on these and other benefits are available in an IRS Information Sheet, FS-2022-10.

— To comment on this article or suggest an idea for another article, contact Martha Wagoner at [email protected].

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