How to Maximize Your Child Tax Credit? Guide to Follow

Millions of Americans have benefited from the child tax credit in terms of the cost of raising children. The Taxpayer Relief Act, passed in 1997, laid the groundwork for the credit. You may be eligible for up to $2,000 per child credit if you are a taxpayer who lists a child as a dependent. The person receiving the credit should be a qualified taxpayer. The dependent child must also satisfy the tax law requirements to be eligible to claim the Child Tax Credit.

What Is the Child Tax Credit? Breakdown of the basic definition:

American taxpayers are subject to the Child Tax Credit for each eligible dependent kid. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 significantly increased this credit, created to assist taxpayers in supporting their families, for 2021 taxes. Dollar per dollar, the Child Tax Credit reduces taxpayers' tax liabilities. The maximum yearly credit under the American Rescue Plan was raised from $2,000 per kid (under age 17) in 2020 to $3,000 per child (under age 18) or $3,600 (children younger than 6). The 2021 credit was made completely refundable. Also, starting in July 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will give eligible taxpayers the Child Tax Credit in advance payments every month. Now let's look into how you can maximize your child tax credit.

Start Saving:

Saving money for your child's future may be a smart idea now. Having kids results in tax credits. It makes sense to think about starting and funding a 529 savings plan for their future educational costs. Starting costs are as little as $25 per month. If it makes sense, consider other investments after that. Use the funds to increase your 401(k) contributions or contribute to your IRA. Only carry out this after establishing a strong financial base. 

You can utilize those tax credits to begin or increase your fund. Open a savings account separate from your day-to-day spending with a percentage of your tax credit income. It will help you resist the temptation to spend the money you've set aside to save. A high-dividend savings account with a variable rate of interest is one option. This type of account was created to provide you with the best possible return on your savings.

Build Back Your Credit:

One of the first things parents should do with their CTC benefits is address any remaining balance with utility companies, credit card companies, or other loans. All of these result in additional expenses. The last thing we need is for those valuable tax credits to vanish into fees and late charges, especially with back-to-school expenses quickly approaching. If your credit score suffered due to the pandemic, you could use your CTC benefits to obtain a Credit Builder Loan. For example, if you received a $500 CTC benefit in July and August, you could open a $500 credit-builder loan and use it to pay for necessities for your family.  

Make a Budget and Follow It:

Whatever you decide to do with your American Rescue Plan Act funds, take a deep breath before shopping for flat-screen televisions. Determine how much you will earn each month. Also, identify what recurring bills you can handle, and make sure you save some money if possible. Making a plan is the best way to increase your CTC benefit funds greatly. Whether you want to save up for a family vacation or you need to budget every penny to cover your bills. A well-planned budget can provide you with peace of mind and help your account for any unknowns on the horizon.

MakeYour Home a Comfortable Workplace:

Many people have been working from a remote location for about 18 months at this point. Some companies are allowing employees to work from home soon. If this is the case, investing in a workspace that will make your workdays more comfortable and productive may be worthwhile. This could include purchasing new office furniture, a new laptop or larger monitor, or simply installing better lighting, so you don't strain your eyes. While the Child Tax Credit is worth much more money, the current increase is only set to last for the current tax year. 

Lawmakers are working to keep the expanded version in place for longer, but that is not guaranteed. That is why you must make the most of your money while still having access to it.

Set Yourself Up For a Better Job:

There are millions of job openings today, and improving your skills could be your ticket to a better one than you currently have. You can use some of your monthly installments for a course to prepare you for your desired job. For example, learning to navigate the world of spreadsheets could help you advance. A six-hour online course could teach you everything you need to know. Apart from this, keeping proper track of your biweekly pay is crucial. However, you can do this using manual methods or an online paystub generator

Ways to Claim the Child Tax Credit on Your Tax Return:

You can claim the CTC on your federal ITR (Form 1040, 1040-SR, or 1040-NR). Your tax return must include each qualifying child's name and social security number. Using the Child Tax Credit and Credit for Other Dependents Worksheet, you can calculate your credit amount. But don't be worried if you need to learn how to fill out the form. Online tax software programs will help you with it. If the IRS denied or reduced your child tax credit for any reason other than a mathematical or clerical error, you must file Form 8862. 

Note: As part of a larger Covid-19 relief stimulus package, President Joe Biden has proposed temporary changes to the child tax credit. If Congress passes the bill, Biden's Covid-19 plan would temporarily raise the maximum child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,000 for children aged 17 and under and up to $3,600 for children under 6. Furthermore, Biden's proposal would make the credit fully refundable for one year (it is currently only partially refundable).


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