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Are you eligible to claim the child tax credit? How Ohioans have benefited

Experts say the fronted money made a difference for Ohio families during an uncertain time.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Families that opted-in to the advanced payments of the Child Tax Credit in Ohio received between $250-$300 per month for the last six months of 2021. The payments ended in December.

The Center for Community Solution, based in Cleveland and Columbus, says  the fronted money made a difference for Ohio families during an uncertain time. 

“What we are hearing is that families really use that money for a lot of basic needs,” said Emily Campbell, the associate director and senior fellow at The Center for Community Solutions. “About 90% of families across the country use at least some of that money for their basic expenses. Things like food, rent, or mortgage payments, clothing for their children and for their families, utility payments. And so, it really enabled a lot of people to make ends meet at a time when unemployment remains high, and many families continue to struggle as the pandemic wears on.”

Campbell said it even helped those on the poverty line temporarily get by.

“It's estimated that over 270,000 Ohio children were either be lifted out of poverty or were closer to being out of poverty, thanks to those payments in 2021,” said Campbell. “Refundable tax credits, like the child tax credit enhancement, have been found to be some of the most effective government interventions for helping families and children rise out of poverty.”

For some families, it was an advancement of $3,600 dollars for children ages 5 and under, $3,000 for children 6 to 17-years-old.

The IRS has already sent out Letter 6419 that you should hold on to. It will determine the money received or not received. If it differs from what the letter states, you need to call the IRS to it sort out. Be prepared to wait, long hold times have been reported due to staffing shortages and a backlog of refunds from 2020.

“The IRS is in communication to all the recipients of the Child Tax Credits,” said Eric Thiergartner, a CPA and CEO of Hessen in Columbus. “Hopefully the correct information is reported on their tax return. And again, there's going to be instances, you know, these exceeding circumstances where that letter, is not correct.”

The Center for Community Solutions says all eligible people should file, so they don’t miss out on other tax breaks offered from the government.

“A lot of families can expect to get an even larger refund thanks to that additional six months of Child Tax Credit,” Campbell said. “There's also the earned income tax credit for working families and working Ohioans and millions of dollars are left on the table every year when people don't claim all the tax credits that they're eligible for. So first and foremost, we are encouraging everyone to file your taxes.”

Do families need to pay any of the money back?

In most cases, no, unless you did not qualify, or you earn more than the eligibility requirements. The second half of the Child Tax Credit should be returned in when taxes are filed.

“There are instances where people would have to pay money back,” said Monique McGrant, CPA and owner of Grant Tax and Bookkeeping in Charlotte, North Carolina. “If the child changed the home the primary home in that in 2021, they would have to pay the money back. If the taxpayer’s income increase, they may have to pay money back or if their filing status changed.”

To check your eligibility, and what you should be receiving, click here.

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