The Internal Revenue Service is sending letters to over nine million individuals and families who didn’t file a 2021 federal income tax return but may qualify for tax benefits and a possible refund. The Treasury’s Office of Tax Analysis found people who don’t typically have a tax return filing requirement because they have very low incomes, based on Forms W-2, 1099s and other third-party statements available to the IRS.

“Many in this group may be eligible to claim some or all of the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit and other credits depending on their personal and family situation,” said IRS spokesman Michael Devine.

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The special reminder letters are being sent in both English and Spanish, with a brief overview of:

  • Child Tax Credit – Families can claim this credit even if they received monthly advance payments during the last half of 2021. The credit can be as much as $3,600 per child.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit – This credit can be as much as $1,502 for workers with no qualifying children, $3,618 for those with one child, $5,980 for those with two children and $6,728 for those with at least three children.
  • Recovery Rebate Credit – Often called stimulus payments, last year’s third round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP3) the maximum credit is $1,400 for each qualifying adult plus $1,400 for each eligible child or adult dependent.

Free File allows people whose incomes are $73,000 or less to file a return online for free using brand-name software. It’s sponsored by the Free File Alliance, a partnership between the IRS and the tax-software industry and will remain open until Nov. 17, 2022. The fastest way to get a refund is to file a return electronically and choose direct deposit for the funds. Free File is available by clicking here.

This outreach is part of an ongoing effort by the IRS to encourage people who aren’t normally required to file to look into possible benefits available to them under the tax law. Every year, people can overlook filing a tax return when they may be entitled tax credits and a refund.

Individuals and families can occasionally get expanded tax benefits, even if they have little or no income from a job, business or other source. This means people who don’t normally need to file a tax return should file this year, even if they haven’t been required to do so in recent years. These and other tax benefits were expanded under last year’s American Rescue Plan Act and other recent legislation.

Claiming these credits has no effect on the ability of someone to be eligible for federal benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).  Claiming these credits has no effect on an individual’s immigration status or their ability to get a green card or immigration benefits.