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Published:   |   Last Updated: February 8, 2024

TAS Tax Tip: File Your 2021 Tax Return to Claim Certain Credits Before Time Runs Out!


unclaimed tax benefit

Hurry – it’s not too late to claim certain tax credits on your 2021 federal income tax return. The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) wants to educate individuals about claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit, the Child Tax Credit, or the Earned Income Tax Credit. You may be eligible to receive the full amount of these credits, even if you have little or no income, or are not usually required to file a federal income tax return.

What are the criteria for these credits?

Recovery Rebate Credit

  • For stimulus payment amounts you did not receive in 2021
  • S. citizen or resident alien
  • Must have Social Security number (SSN) valid for employment
  • Worth up to:
    • $1,400 per eligible adult plus
    • $1,400 per qualifying dependent
  • See Understanding Your Letter 6475 for more information.

Child Tax Credit

  • Up to $3,600 for each qualifying child ages 5 and under at the end of 2021
  • Up to $3,000 for each qualifying child ages 6 through 17 at the end of 2021
  • Each qualifying child must have an SSN valid for employment
  • You may have received up to half of this amount through monthly payments in 2021. You must file a tax return to receive the rest. See Letter 6419 for more information.

Earned Income Tax Credit

  • Helps low and moderate-income workers and families
  • Based on your wages and income from self-employment
  • S. citizen or resident alien
  • Must have an SSN valid for employment
  • Worth up to:
    • $1,502 with no qualifying children
    • $3,618 with 1 qualifying child
    • $5,980 with 2 qualifying children
    • $6,728 with 3+ qualifying children

The fastest and most secure way to receive your refund is to chose and having any refund direct deposit. The deadline to use the IRS’s Free File tools closed on November 17, 2022, but you can still submit your tax return using a paid tax preparer, or submitting your tax return to the IRS by mail.

Here are some other tips to help you prepare to file your 2021 federal income tax return:

What you need to gather to file

How to find tax return preparation help

More information

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are also available to assist low-income individuals who have a tax dispute with the IRS. LITCs also provide education and outreach to individuals who speak English as a second language.

TAS Resources

IRS Resources

Visit TAS’s Get Help center for a list of tax topics to assist you with resolving many tax-related issues.

For more updates from TAS, visit the news and information center to read the latest tax tips, blogs, alerts, and more.