SAN FRANCISCO — Code for America—the leading nonprofit tech organization that works with community leaders and governments to deliver equitable, accessible digital tools and services—today opened its GetCTC portal, for the second year in a row, to give more families in America access to the Child Tax Credit and other tax benefits. The portal—located at GetCTC.org and released in collaboration with the White House and US Department of the Treasury—is free to use, accessible on desktops and mobile devices, and available in both English and Spanish.
Code for America is also launching a new outreach effort to increase the number of people who use GetCTC. Beginning today, Code for America will collaborate with state benefits agencies to reach eligible families (details below).
Code for America originally launched GetCTC last September for ten weeks until the close of the 2021 filing season. Over 115,000 families used the tool to successfully claim tax benefits with nearly four out of five clients reporting the tool was “easy” or “extremely easy” to use. The majority of clients used GetCTC on mobile devices and typically finished in 10-15 minutes. Code for America published lessons from last year’s effort in this report.
“Through simplified filing via the GetCTC portal, more than 100,000 low-income families were able to claim tax benefits they are due. This was a successful proof of concept that allowed people to claim more than $400 million in tax benefits,” said David Newville, Senior Program Director for Tax Benefits, Code for America. “We are proud to play a similar role again this year—in collaboration with the White House, the Department of the Treasury, and trusted community partners—to help more eligible families receive these meaningful tax benefits. With a focus on iterative design, we’ve brought forth lessons learned and incorporated them into this year’s portal to ensure clients have a seamless experience when it comes to claiming the flexible cash that belongs to them.”
This year, eligible families can use GetCTC to receive the 2021 Child Tax Credit, expanded last year to $3,600 per child for children under six and $3,000 per child for children under 18. In 2021, 36 million families received half of the credit in advance payments and will receive the second half when they use GetCTC.org. Families who didn’t receive advance payments will receive the entire Child Tax Credit when they file through GetCTC.org. Clients can also use the tool to claim any missing portion of the third stimulus payments, generally worth $1,400 per family member.
For 2022, the IRS authorized the filing of simplified returns after the close of the traditional tax season on April 18. Rather than submitting a full tax return, GetCTC files a ”simplified return” containing just the information needed to issue Child Tax Credits and stimulus payments. This helps low-income families who often face barriers when filing tax returns that require more, and sometimes complicated, documentation. GetCTC’s user-friendly, interview-style format prompts clients to answer one question at time and guides them through the criteria that apply.
Collaborating with State Benefit Agencies to Reach Eligible Families
Code for America convened with officials from the White House and the Department of Treasury on Wednesday to officially launch the GetCTC portal for 2022. The convening also marked the launch of a new, national outreach effort inspired by last year’s success.
Through this effort, Code for America will work with state benefits agencies across the country to spread the word about GetCTC to their beneficiaries. Benefits agencies are trusted messengers when it comes to receiving government benefits, and research suggests that a quarter of public beneficiaries—of common benefits like SNAP and Medicaid—may be missing out on tax benefits.
More information about this effort, states taking action, and how agencies and outside organizations can get involved is available at codeforamerica.org/CTCoutreach.
Eligible families can fill out and e-file a simple form at GetCTC.org and could receive payments within weeks of submission. Families are eligible to use GetCTC if they are not required to file taxes—generally meaning they earn less than $12,550 (for single filers) or $25,100 (for married couples)—and earn less than $400 in self-employment income.
About Code for America
Code for America, a nonprofit founded in 2009, believes that government can work for the people, and by the people, in the digital age. We work with government at all levels across the country to make the delivery of public services equitable with technology. Together with thousands of volunteers across over 80 Brigade chapters in the U.S., we work with community organizations and governments to build digital tools, change policies, and improve programs. Our goal: a resilient government that effectively and equitably serves everyone. Learn more at codeforamerica.org.