SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Many parents around the country could be getting a nice surprise this Thursday: a Child Tax Credit will show up in many bank accounts. Most will get between $3,000 and $3,600 per child, depending on their age.
"Good job, JJ! Mia, you want to try it?" mom Lily Marquez says to her four and six-year-old children, Mia and Jeremiah.
Mom qualifies for $6,600 in child tax credits. Half will be paid in monthly installments through the end of the year. She'll get the second half after she files her taxes next year.
The money will go towards her children's education expenses, as well as dental work and car repair costs.
"We'll be able to pay that off, and set that money aside for the benefit of our children," said Marquez.
Four-year-old Chance is a bundle of energy. Her mom Donnise Powell will qualify for a $3,600 credit.
"Now I can afford to send her to school or to daycare for the five days instead of three days that she's going," Powell said.
The best part is for most families, the money will just appear.
"If you filed your taxes in 2019 and 2020, you don't have to do anything. There's not one form you have to fill out," said Cheryl Smith of Family Support Services.
She says those that didn't earn enough to file taxes can still get the credit by going to the White House's webpage.
The credit phases out for married couples earning $150,000 or more per year and for most single parents earning $112,500 a year.
Still, 90 percent of all families will qualify for the credit.
Amie Latterman of the Children's Council of San Francisco says that includes families in California who may be undocumented.
"This is a huge boon to get families through this really tough economic time," Latterman said.
Unlike past years, families won't have to wait until they file taxes to get the credit.
"I need child care now. Not next year during tax season," said Powell.
"Ultimately those benefits are for the benefit of the children. So that's my goal is to make sure my kids are thriving," said Marquez.
Families with children under 6 qualify for a $3,000 credit per child, $3,600 for each child ages 6 - 17, and $500 for each dependent child 18 -24. If you think you might owe taxes at the end of the year, you may want to opt out to avoid having to pay the credit back. We have a Q&A posted here as well as a child tax credit calculator.