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Gov. Pritzker: Illinois Families Encouraged to Take Advantage of Expanded Federal Child Tax Credit

Press Release - Thursday, May 06, 2021

CHICAGO- Qualifying Illinois families may be able to claim a larger federal child tax credit and request advanced payments in 2021 due to the recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 ("American Rescue Plan"). To ensure eligibility, Governor JB Pritzker is reminding all Illinois families to file their 2020 individual income taxes by the May 17 deadline, even if they had no income to report and are generally not required to file.

"The American Rescue Plan delivers thousands of dollars in additional assistance to families with young children, and with the extended tax deadline, Illinois families still have a chance to claim their fair share," said Governor JB Pritzker. "I encourage all residents with children, even those who might not normally file or who don't have income to report, to file their individual income taxes by May 17th - 11 days from today - to ensure they get the relief they deserve."

The child tax credit provision contained within the American Rescue Plan temporarily increases the child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for children five and younger) and allows eligible parents or guardians to begin receiving advances on the 2021 credit through periodic payments of $250, beginning as early as July. Filing of a 2020 individual income tax return is required for eligibility.

"With the extended May 17 income tax filing deadline approaching, there is still time for families to file their 2020 individual income tax returns," said David Harris, Illinois Department of Revenue Director. "For those who may need assistance, I encourage use of a qualified tax professional. Low-to-moderate income families can receive free help through several trusted programs across Illinois, including those provided by the IRS, AARP and Ladder Up."

Qualifications for the 2021 Child Tax Credit include:

• Income of $112,500 if filing as head of household
• Income below $150,000 for filing jointly 
• Income below $75,000 for single filers
• Reduced credit may be available to taxpayers with income above the threshold amounts.
• Filer must have provided at least half of the child's support during the last year
• Child must have lived with tax filer for at least six months or more
• File 2020 individual income taxes by May 17 deadline
• If taxpayer already filed taxes, an amendment may be submitted 
• If a taxpayer is unable to file by May 17, a request for extension may be filed

"The child tax credit is bigger than ever before, which should make things a little easier for families taking a financial hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand the importance of our economy to fully recover from COVID-19, and caregiving responsibilities are real for so many families," said Grace B. Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services.

"I join Governor JB Pritzker and Sec. Hou in urging families with children to take advantage of the new temporary credit that will provide financial support to working families and unemployed people. The child tax credit will provide eligible families with a monthly boost worth up to $250 per month," said State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago). "This extra money can help parents pay for childcare services and cover other necessities like rent. It is not often that the Federal Government puts money directly into the pockets of families on Main Street."

The American Rescue Plan also made several changes to the child and dependent care credit for the 2021 tax year. For 2021, tax filers with eligible children can receive a fully refundable credit equal to 50% of up to $8,000 of childcare and similar costs for a child under 13, or $16,000 for two or more qualifying children.

For additional information, forms, schedules, and instructions for the 2020 tax year, please visit IDOR's website at: Have additional questions? Contact IDOR's Taxpayer Services at 800-732-8866 or

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