The expanded child tax credit, and monthly payments that came with it, expired last year. But eligible Puerto Rico residents can still claim the sums of up to $3,600 per child.
Now, Code for America, a non-profit tech organization, is making it possible for Puerto Rico residents to use its free, mobile-friendly online sign-up portal — GetCTC — so they can access the credit.
The portal, which is available in Spanish and English, launched on Thursday in collaboration with the White House and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The launch follows recent guidance issued by the IRS in May that allows most Puerto Rico residents to file for the child tax credit with a simplified return, even if they were not required to file in 2021.
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How Puerto Rico residents can claim the credit
Because the credit is fully refundable under the American Rescue Plan, Puerto Rico residents can claim the full credit if they have no income or paid no Social Security taxes, according to the IRS.
The GetCTC web tool lets people enter basic personal information needed to claim the child tax credit, such as their name, Social Security number, number of children and address.
“We expect people to be able to get through it usually in about 10 to 15 minutes on a mobile phone,” said Gabriel Zucker, associate policy director for tax benefits at Code for America.
“It’s a really streamlined targeted process,” he said.
Expanding access in Puerto Rico to the child tax credit
The child tax credit payments are based on the 2021 American Rescue Plan. That includes $3,600 per child age 5 or under as of the end of 2021, as well as $3,000 per child ages 6 through 17 as of the end of last year.
While the American Rescue Plan made the child tax credit more generous for millions of Americans, it also dramatically expanded Puerto Ricans’ access to the credit, according to Zucker.
Before the temporary legislation, Puerto Ricans had to have three children to qualify for the credit, which meant about 90% of families could not receive it, Zucker said.
“It’s been a long time that some of the key social supports that we provide to families state side have not been available or have not been available to families in the same way on the island,” Zucker said.
Eligible families in Puerto Rico have until April 15, 2025 to claim the child tax credit.
This is in keeping with IRS tax rules, which let people claim credits for up to several years, Zucker said.
A separate GetCTC tool is also currently open to mainland U.S. residents who may have missed out on the child tax credit or recovery rebate credit of up to $1,400 per person.