GetYourRefund and GetCTC Outreach and Navigator Resources
Guidance for community-based navigators seeking to help hard-to-reach clients access their tax benefits.
Need help claiming your tax benefits? To get help claiming the Child Tax Credit, stimulus payments, Earned Income Tax Credit, and other credits, go to GetYourRefund.org and click "Get Started" or go to GetCTC.org and click “Sign up for GetCTC updates.” If you need assistance, click "Chat with us."
Each year millions of families are eligible for thousands of dollars in tax benefits like the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, but don’t receive them because they haven’t filed a tax return. This year, more families than ever qualify for these expanded tax benefits. You can help these families by becoming a community navigator.
Navigators don’t have to be tax experts. Navigators are trusted, community-based guides that help marginalized families access information and resources to claim their eligible benefits.
There are a number of ways you can assist families in accessing their benefits. It’s up to each organization to determine the level of support they’re able to provide and what would be most valuable to their target audience. Assistance could include:
- Building awareness about the benefits of filing and trust in the resources to do so
- Helping clients access online services like GetYourRefund.org and GetCTC.org
- Assisting clients in understanding their next steps
- Providing interpretation services for non-English and Spanish speaking communities
Interested in serving clients virtually? Consider volunteering as a GetYourRefund and GetCTC screener! You’ll help clients better understand our tools and what they need to successfully complete their returns through our easy-to-use online platform. Learn more about this exciting opportunity!
We’ve created and compiled a number of resources that can help you assist families in accessing their benefits. You do not need to read all of the information before getting started. We suggest looking through our intro resources and then using only the resources most relevant to the type of support you plan on offering.
- Sign up for our navigator newsletter and request unique URL(s): By completing this short form, you’ll receive updates as new information and resources become available. You can also request a unique URL to help you track the number of clients served.
- Navigator Intro Guide: In this introductory guide, we’ll introduce you to the Navigator role, provide details on the services available at GetYourRefund, and some considerations when choosing the best service option.
- GetYourRefund Service Comparison Chart: GetYourRefund offers clients a variety of services to best meet their needs. This one-page chart offers additional details on the services available at GetYourRefund and information clients should consider when deciding which option to choose.
Get help during our outreach and navigator office hours on Thursdays from 1-2 pm ET.
- 2022 GetYourRefund Outreach Partnership Guide: Learn how you can help families in your community access the Child Tax Credit and other benefits through our outreach partnership guide. Please note that we will release our GetCTC Partnership guide in April or May with updated information about simplified filing.
- EITC and CTC Outreach Toolkit: Help build awareness and trust in tax benefits and GetYourRefund by utilizing this outreach toolkit from GMMB. Included in these resources are Get It Back Campaign’s EITC and CTC toolkits.
- Non-Filer Learnings and Recommendations: Read outreach recommendations in a research report from Code for America about the barriers non-filers face in accessing the tax benefits they deserve.
GetCTC Information and Resources
GetCTC’s simplified filing tool, will launch in May of 2022 and remain available through mid-November. GetCTC will allow families without a tax filing obligation to claim the Child Tax Credit and any portion of their missing third stimulus payment.
This year nearly every family in the country can claim the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) - up to $3,600 per child and up to $1,800 per child for families who received monthly payments last year. But they must file a 2021 tax return to receive their full credit, regardless of whether they filed. For many families, using GetCTC will be their easiest option.
Single or married individuals without qualifying children can still use the tool to claim any portion of their missing third stimulus payment worth up to $1,400 per eligible person (which includes adult dependents with SSNs).
- Lessons from Simplified Filing in 2021: We've compiled our learnings from the first year of GetCTC.org in this report, and are excited to share them with the field to inform our collective next steps.
More Coming Soon: Stay tuned for more GetCTC navigator resources including a recorded GetCTC Demo, GetCTC Navigator Guide, and Outreach Guide.
File Myself Resources
Filing a full tax return can help families claim all of their eligible tax benefits but research shows outreach alone is not enough to convert non-filers to filers.
The File Myself option refers clients to free tax software to prepare their own taxes to claim all eligible federal and state credits. Additional assistance is available through chat and email.
- How to Host a File Myself Support Site: Learn how you can help clients access this service by setting up a File Myself Support Site. Simply giving someone access to a computer and a link to the service could make all the difference!
- File Myself Client Guide: Provides clients with tips, best practices, and step-by-step instructions to complete a basic tax return using the File Myself option.
- File Myself Child Tax Credit and Stimulus Only Guide: Provides clients with tips, best practices, and instructions to file a simplified tax return to claim their remaining Child Tax Credit or missing third stimulus payment and have no reportable income. This option should be unnecessary once GetCTC’s simplified filing tool launches in May 2022.
Outreach and Navigation Updates
To improve transparency with our partners, we will host all future updates in this section of our navigator page with the posted date. As new updates are posted, previous notices will be available in a linked document.
Post-Tax Season Service Update - Posted on 4/19/22
All families can still file throughout the summer and fall, and most will face no filing penalties for missing the tax deadline. A few families that owe taxes may owe small penalties for missing the deadline, but should still file ASAP to minimize the size of those penalties. The following is an update about GetYourRefund and GetCTC’s post-filing season service options.
- GetCTC’s Simplified Filing Tool will launch in mid-May and remain open through mid-November. As a reminder, GetCTC will allow families without a tax filing obligation to claim the Child Tax Credit, and any portion of the third stimulus payment they didn’t receive.
- File Myself (a.k.a. DIY or Facilitated Self-Assistance) will remain open until October 15, 2022.
- GetYourRefund Virtual VITA and VITA site locator will remain open until October 1, 2022, but with significantly reduced capacity. VITA programs and their volunteers have worked tirelessly this past tax season to serve tens of thousands of clients and need time to recuperate and plan for next year. Some programs have agreed to continue their service but given those capacity constraints, we anticipate that most clients will be referred to File Myself or GetCTC options.
2022 Tax Filing Season - Posted on 2/7/2022
The following is an update on Code for America’s plans for the 2022 filing season, as of early February 2022. Note that these plans could be subject to change based on policy changes or other outside events.
As of January 31, GetYourRefund.org is open to the public. GetYourRefund currently provides three services to help clients file full tax returns:
(1) GetYourRefund Virtual VITA, which allows clients to complete a virtual VITA intake and connects them to a VITA volunteer to file
(2) File Myself (a.k.a. Facilitated Self-Assistance, or DIY), which allows clients to file themselves using TaxSlayer software, with chat assistance from VITA-certified volunteers, and
(3) A VITA site locator that clients can use to find an in-person VITA site (where available).
When clients arrive at GetYourRefund, they are also offered an interactive tool that helps them determine which of these services is the best fit for them.
- We expect to launch simplified filing in May 2022. Simplified filing is launching later in the year because: (1) The IRS regulations authorizing simplified filing do not permit simplified returns to be submitted before April 18, and (2) Simplified filing rules were released only in late January, and are somewhat more complicated than Code for America expected. It will take a few months to update, certify, and test a tool that fulfills the requirements.
- Upon launch, simplified filing will allow households without a tax filing obligation to claim 2021 Child Tax Credit (CTC) and EIP3 payments.
- Although the regulations authorizing simplified filing mention the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the process outlined to claim EITC is not simple; it requires filers to report their income and provide a W-2. Simplified filers using our service will not be able to claim EITC when simplified filing launches. We will research the possibility of adding EITC functionality later in the year.
- At present, the simplified filing rules do not accommodate Puerto Rican residents who are seeking to claim CTC. The IRS and Treasury are currently working on this issue, and we hope to have an update soon.
Code for America encourages other organizations and government agencies to assist with outreach efforts to promote tax filing tools.
- We encourage partners who are focused on reaching traditional non-filers with no (or nearly no) earned income to wait until simplified filing is available to launch significant outreach efforts. While we do our best to provide streamlined service to GetYourRefund clients, filing a full return will likely be a significant barrier for these families, and they may have more luck waiting for the simplified tool.
- Full details on the services available at GetYourRefund.org — and information on how outreach partners can get involved — are available here.
- Additional research on best practices in tax benefits outreach — based on our experience offering simplified filing in 2021 — is available here. Note that this research is based on simplified filing, not filing full tax returns.
- For reference, during this tax season, Code for America will be prioritizing the following outreach strategies:
- Following up with last year’s GetYourRefund and GetCTC clients, including testing to see when GetCTC clients are successful making it through a full return.
- Running Google search ads, beginning when simplified filing is available.
- Encouraging state and local benefits agencies to send outreach messages to their beneficiaries.
Outreach partners should get in touch with questions, comments, or ideas for collaboration at Navigators@getyourrefund.org