White House, Treasury Launch Website Aimed at Making Child Tax Credit Application Easier

A new website designed to streamline the federal child tax credit application process went live Wednesday, the government announced.

The payments were part of the pandemic relief package that provides families with as much as $300 per child a month. The organization Code for America partnered with the White House and Treasury Department, according to a joint statement.

The triad said the website is supposed to simplify an often confusing process into a straightforward online form that's accessible on mobile platforms, the Associated Press reported. Its user base is for people who aren't legally obligated to file taxes because of a lack of income so that they may apply to the tax credit.

"Our research really shows the simpler you make the process, the more likely people are going to actually successfully make it through," David Newville, senior program director for tax benefits at Code for America, said in an interview.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Child Tax Credit
A new website designed to streamline the federal child tax credit application process went live Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) jokes about arriving on time with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (R) (D-CA) during a news conference on families helped by the Child Tax Credit at the U.S. Capitol July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Based on a demonstration provided to The Associated Press, it's possible for a parent to complete the form over the course of just 20 or 25 slides. The online form is also available in Spanish, not just English.

Code for America has in the past worked with more than 100 partner organizations to help people prepare tax returns and the intention is to get more people signed up for the child tax credit. The government previously estimated that at least 88 percent of children were already able to receive the tax credit when payments began in July.

President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 aid included an expansion of the child tax credit, extending it to families without any tax obligations. Parents of a child under the age of 6 can receive $3,600 annually, some of which can be paid out monthly at $300. Each child from the age of 6 to 17 qualifies for $3,000 annually or $250 per month.

The expanded child tax credit is set to lapse after a year, though Biden has proposed extending it through 2025 and would like it to be made permanent. The credit appears to be making a meaningful difference as a Census survey indicated that food instability for families with children fell 24 percent after the first payments were issued.

The Biden administration has also emphasized the importance of ensuring as many people as possible receive the credit, which has meant greater community outreach and the new portal developed by Code for America.

There's "no question you're doing something this major this quickly there's going to be wrinkles and bumps in the road, and we're just as committed as we can be to smoothing them out as quickly as we can," Gene Sperling, who is leading the oversight efforts of the relief payments for the Biden administration, said on a Wednesday call.

Joe Biden Child Tax Credit
The government has collaborated on a new internet site to help more Americans apply for and receive the expanded child tax credit, a monthly payment of as much as $300 per child that was part of the coronavirus relief package. In this July 15, 2021, file photo President Joe Biden speaks during an event to mark the start of monthly Child Tax Credit relief payments, in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington. Evan Vucci, File/AP Photo