New Tax Credit Tool Launches for Low-Income Families

Mobile-friendly portal is meant to simplify registration

Parents and children coloring pages together

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If you or someone you know should be getting the expanded child tax credit, a new online registration portal is now up and running.

Launched Wednesday, the new tool was designed to simplify the application process to ensure that millions of families with little or no income don’t miss out on this year’s monthly child tax credit payments. Available at, the portal was designed by the nonprofit Code for America to fix certain deficits in the IRS’s version, which isn’t available in Spanish, isn’t mobile-friendly, and requires applicants to understand subtleties the government said they shouldn’t have to understand. 

The new tool walks users through a simplified tax return one question at a time, collecting just the information needed to send the monthly child tax credit payments, Code for America said in a statement. Payments may arrive within weeks of users completing the process, the group said.

Most households are getting the monthly payments in their bank accounts automatically, but those who don’t file a tax return must register. In March the American Rescue Plan Act expanded the 2021 child tax credit to make it available to low-income families who wouldn't normally earn enough to qualify for the full tax offset, or in some cases, any offset. The pandemic relief legislation also increased the credit—a maximum of $3,600 per child rather than $2,000—and authorized half of it to be distributed to households in the form of advance monthly payments.

The Treasury Department, which had announced the Code for America tool was in development last month, said Wednesday it remains committed to creating a permanent, multilingual, and mobile-friendly government version.

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