GetCTC.org Navigator Resources
Guidance for community-based navigators seeking to help hard-to-reach clients access the Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) or Economic Impact Payment (EIP or Stimulus).
This page provides training materials and resources for community organizations and volunteers. If you need to file a simplified return to claim the Child Tax Credit or stimulus payments, go to GetCTC.org and click "File your simplified return." If you need assistance, click "Chat with us."
Millions of families are eligible for thousands of dollars in Child Tax Credit and stimulus payments from the IRS, but won’t receive them because they haven’t recently filed taxes, or their information on file with the IRS is out of date. You can help these families by becoming a Navigator.
Navigators don’t have to be tax experts. Navigators are trusted, community-based guides that help marginalized families utilize IRS tools, and understand and complete the process of filing their taxes.
As a Navigator, you’ll help families:
- Figure out which forms — if any — they need to complete to get their money.
- File simplified tax returns to get CTC and stimulus payments using GetCTC.org.
- Update their data with the IRS using the CTC Update Portal.
- Start the process of filing a full tax return at GetYourRefund.org.
1. Getting Started
To get started as a Navigator:
- Learn the essential responsibilities of a Navigator by reviewing this guide. We'll introduce you to the Navigator role, and give you the basic information you need to determine the right next steps for families, based on their tax situation.
- Watch a short demo of GetCTC. Get a quick tour of GetCTC’s simplified filing portal. The portal is mobile-friendly, available in English and Spanish, and can be used as an alternative to the IRS Non-Filer Sign-Up tool. Users are only eligible for this service if their 2020 income is below a certain level — $12,400 if filing single, or $24,800 if filing married.
- Complete this form to sign up for updates and request a unique URL. To help you track the number of clients served, we can provide a unique URL that will record the number of people you refer to GetCTC, and the number of tax returns filed using your URL. In return, we ask that you tell us some basic information about your services so we can better learn from the work being done in the field.
Key Additional Resources
Here are few more core resources you may find yourself referencing frequently when helping families. Take a quick look before you get started so you know what’s here. It’s ok if you can’t memorize everything, as long as you know where to find the information later.
- How to use GetCTC. A detailed walk-through of each page in the GetCTC application. This may be helpful so you know what to expect if clients have more complex tax situations.
- How to use the CTC Update Portal (CTC UP). Step-by-step instructions and helpful tips, presented by Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' Get It Back Campaign.
- Frequently Asked Questions about CTC and stimulus payments. How to handle common confusing situations — including when to use which tool, detailed eligibility for mixed-status families, and much more.
Need more direct assistance? Register for our Navigator Q&A Webinars, every other Friday in August and September, hosted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Code for America. The sessions will feature open Q&As about CTC, stimulus payments, and the tools used to access them, and are a place for you to learn and share Navigator best practices.
Important Links and Hotlines for Clients
- GetCTC.org: information about CTC, and the GetCTC simplified return tool, in English and Spanish.
- GetYourRefund.org: free tax prep services and FAQs for clients who want to file a full return, in English and Spanish.
- IRS CTC Update Portal: the IRS tool to check CTC eligibility status, opt-out of advance CTC payments, and provide updated bank account and mailing address information for those who have already filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return.
- IRS CTC Helpline: (800) 908-4184. The helpline connects clients to IRS representatives who can answer basic CTC questions. Assistance is available in English and Spanish. If a caller does not have access to the internet and does not have a friend or family who can help them do so, phone operators can also help callers opt-out of advance CTC payments. The caller will need to tell the operator that they can’t access the internet, and can’t get assistance to do so.
2. Going Deeper
Quick guides on topics of interest:
- Common rejects for non-filers and next steps: After filing the non-filer form, clients will receive an email letting them know if their return was accepted or rejected. This guide explains common reasons why a client's return is rejected, and possible next steps.
- Reasons to opt-out of the Advance CTC: By default, the IRS is issuing Advance CTC payments to anyone who was eligible for CTC last year. For some families, it will be better to receive these payments as a lump sum next year, rather than receive the advance payments. This guide explains under which circumstances a family may choose to opt-out of advance payments.
- Eligibility for CTC and stimulus payments: A detailed reference of which benefits clients may be eligible for, given their immigration status and other factors.
- Calculating Recovery Rebate Credit: Clients who missed out on their full 1st or 2nd stimulus payments have the opportunity to claim the missing funds on their 2020 tax return. GetCTC walks clients through this process, but clients using the IRS non-filer tool or filing a full return need to calculate the missing amount themselves. This guide shows you how.
Research and common barriers
Research based on conversations with families who don’t file taxes about how they see the IRS, and barriers they face in claiming payments.
- Non-filer Learnings and Recommendations: research from Code for America about the barriers non-filers face in accessing the tax benefits they deserve.
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Non-Participation: research from Code for America about people who are eligible for EITC but don’t receive it.
- Talking to Non-Filers: learnings from New America based on interviews with families who don't regularly file tax returns.