How grandparents and foster parents can qualify for the child tax credit under the American Rescue Plan

Better Call 4

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A provision in President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan aims to put more money in the bank accounts of U.S. families this year.

The pandemic relief law passed in March increases the Child Tax Credit to $3,600 for every child 5 years of age and under, and $3,000 dollars for every child from 6 to 17 years old. That’s for single parents making less than $75,000, and married parents earning less than $150,000.

But what about grandparents, raising their grandchildren?

Many of them called Better Call 4 with that question, and I got the answer you’ve been waiting for from Erik Ricci with Jackson Hewitt.

“This is for grandparents, aunts, uncles. Maybe you’re taking care of a relative, a sister, a brother, or somebody, that is not your biological child,” said Ricci. “As long as you have proven that you have the right to claim that child, you are still eligible for the Child Tax Credit.”

There are three primary “tests” to pass, in order to be eligible for the Child Tax Credit.

“The first one is relationship. So, they have to be either related, or you are the legal guardian of,” said Ricci.

That includes foster parents.

“The second part is residency, where they must live with you for more than 6 months out of the year.” Even if it’s six months and one day.

The last “test” is support. You must provide 51 percent for the child you claim as a dependent.

“You’re talking their cost of maintaining a home, food, groceries, medical… any of those support tests,” said Ricci.

If you pass these tests and are eligible to claim the credit, the last thing you need to do is file your taxes. Filing a return provides the IRS with the information needed, to get you the money you’re owed.

“If you don’t file taxes, you probably didn’t get your three stimulus payments,” said Ricci. “You’re probably not going to get this child tax credit. The key to this, if anything else, please file your taxes.”

If you’re typically a “non-filer,” because you don’t meet the income requirements or you’re on social security, you will need to file a 2020 tax return to get the credit.

But you’re running out of time. The deadline to file your 2020 taxes, is May 17.

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