The Child Tax Credit: What Head Start Families Need to Know

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Rescue Plan provides historic investments in children and families, including the largest ever Child Tax Credit.

There’s money on the table for Head Start families — $3,600 for children under six, to be exact.

What You Need to Know

The American Rescue Plan raised the maximum Child Tax Credit in 2021 to $3,600 for qualifying children under the age of 6 and to $3,000 per child for qualifying children between ages 6 and 17, or up to $300 per month and up to $250 per month, respectively. Before 2021, the credit was worth up to $2,000 per eligible child and 17-year-olds did not qualify for the credit.

Eligible families will begin receiving monthly payments on July 15, 2021. It’s critical that families make sure they have filed taxes or used the Non-filer Sign-up Tool by then.

As a provision of the American Rescue Plan, this change to the Child Tax Credit is not permanent. Decision makers in Washington would like to keep this increase in years to come, but will not be able to do so without demonstrated interest from families.

What You Need to Do

If you’ve filed tax returns for 2019 or 2020, or if you signed up to receive a stimulus check from the Internal Revenue Service, you will get this tax relief automatically.

If you did not file taxes in 2020 or 2019, which may be the case for some income-eligible Head Start families, you are still eligible. You must use the Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool to enroll.

Carefully check your mail for anything from the IRS and encourage friends and neighbors to do the same. The IRS is mailing letters to non-filer households in the upcoming weeks to ensure families are aware of the steps they need to take to start receiving the increased benefit.

Resources to learn more:

The White House: Child Tax Credit

IRS Child Tax Credit Non-filer Sign-up Tool (English and Spanish)

IRS Child Tax Credit information (English and Spanish)

IRS Flyers to share with families (V1 and V2)

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NHSA is a nonprofit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life.

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National Head Start Association

National Head Start Association

NHSA is a nonprofit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life.

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