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 extended its free, mobile-friendly GetCTC sign-up portal to Puerto Rico residents, making it easier for families to access the Child Tax Credit.
The expanded portal, which is available in Spanish and English, was launched today in collaboration with the White House and the U.S. Department of Treasury. Trusted community partners, including the Hispanic Federation, UnidosUS, the Instituto del Desarrollo de la Juventud, and Espacios Abiertos are leading local outreach efforts in communities across Puerto Rico to help residents access the Child Tax Credit.
Since September 2021, Code for America’s GetCTC portal has helped nearly 135,000 families access nearly $500 million in tax benefits for which they are eligible. This is the first year that Puerto Rico residents are eligible to receive the full tax benefit.
Puerto Rico residents, who were not eligible for advance monthly payments in 2021, will receive full payments in 2022: $3,600 for children ages 5 and younger at the end of 2021; and $3,000 for children ages 6 through 17 at the end of 2021.
“Today’s GetCTC portal expansion removes enormous barriers that have blocked people in Puerto Rico from accessing the Child Tax Credit,” said David Newville, Senior Program Director for Tax Benefits, Code for America. “Now, this will make it far easier for potentially hundreds of thousands of people living in Puerto Rico to sign up for the Child Tax Credit through an easy-to-use digital tool that ensures families are getting the flexible cash that they are due.
“With over 100,000 low-income families claiming nearly $440 million in benefits last year through GetCTC, we know that simplified filing works. We are proud to have worked on this expansion with the White House, Treasury, and our community partners who have been tirelessly working to ensure that Puerto Rico residents have easy access to the Child Tax Credit.”
“Tax-filing can be an intimidating and expensive process for many people. This type of tool allows families to apply for this benefit on their own so they don’t miss out,” said Carmen I. Rodríguez, Advocacy Director, Instituto del Desarrollo de la Juventud. “The goal is that all eligible families receive this money to alleviate the ever-increasing costs associated with raising a child.”
“Opening access to the GetCTC portal for Puerto Rico residents brings us one step closer to equity in the Child Tax Credit,” stated Charlotte Gossett Navarro, Chief Director, Hispanic Federation Puerto Rico. “We have been working closely with local nonprofit organizations throughout this tax season to help ensure no family is left out of the 2021 Child Tax Credit expansion, but there are barriers that make it difficult to assist communities with the traditional federal tax filing process. This new tool will make it much simpler for eligible families who have not yet filed to do so for free and with the support of trusted community organizations. Thousands of families have already received their benefit, and I hope with GetCTC we can soon reach all families in Puerto Rico.”
“At a time when the economic crisis is worsening as a result of inflation, it is imperative that families living in Puerto Rico be able to access all the benefits available to improve their economic security,” said Cecille Blondet, Executive Director, Espacios Abiertos. “The access of the GetCTC portal to Puerto Rico will facilitate the use of technology at the service of the people in that direction.”
The GetCTC portal is the first online application made available to Puerto Rico residents following a recent update to the filing process.
In May, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance allowing most Puerto Rico residents with children to file a simplified tax return in order to claim the Child Tax Credit if they did not have a federal filing requirement in 2021.
Up to this point, eligible residents had to file using Form 1040-PR, a burdensome process that created a huge barrier to access. Many applicants had to visit the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) services or pay for tax preparation software that was poorly aligned to their needs.
By using the GetCTC portal, Puerto Rico residents will be able file a simplified tax return containing just the information needed to issue the Child Tax Credit with a user-friendly, interview-style format that prompts clients to answer one question at time and guides them through the criteria that apply. A demo of how to use the tool is available in Spanish and English.
In May, Code for America relaunched the 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. Last year, over 115,000 families used the tool to successfully claim tax benefits with the majority of clients typically finishing in 10-15 minutes. Code for America published lessons from last year’s effort in this report.
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.
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