From July to December 2021, the American Rescue Plan provided eligible parents with as much as $3,600 per year for children under the age of six and up to $3,000 for children between ages six and seventeen.
This all meant that a $250 or a $300 payment for each child was directly deposited to parents’ bank accounts each month. Now, those same parents could be in line to receive the other half of the enhanced child tax credit when filing their tax returns this year. This has become even more urgent with the tax day deadline less than a week away on April 18.
According to a new poll conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center and Morning Consult, per CNBC, many parents were not aware that they could still receive any portion of the credit they hadn’t received through the monthly payments at tax time. In fact, a whopping 34 percent were still in the dark regarding the extra money that they are entitled to.
“That’s still a pretty significant portion of people who are potentially going to leave money on the table because they’re unaware of what they can claim,” Andrew Carothers, research analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told CNBC.
Getting the Word Out
During a recent virtual White House event to encourage Americans to send in their tax forms to the Internal Revenue Service, Vice President Kamala Harris advised that families should go to childtaxcredit.gov to check their eligibility for the enhanced credits.
“The truth is there are people across our nation who work hard every day and still struggle to get by and it should not be this way in our country,” she said.
“You still need to file your taxes. That is the only way to receive the second half of what you are owed,” she continued.
Future of Enhanced Credits
Most Democrats, along with Harris, had plans to extend the enhanced credits for another twelve months through the now-stalled Build Back Better bill. But without that legislation, the maximum child tax credit has fallen by $1,000 per school-aged child and $1,600 per child under six. In addition, millions of the nation’s lowest-income families are ineligible for the credits once again.
There are, however, discussions underway about making the expanded form of the child tax credit permanent. Per Cleveland.com, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is doing just that with his Republican counterparts, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who has proposed his own version of a monthly cash benefit program called the Family Security Act.
In contrast to Democrats’ proposals, Romney’s plan comes with work requirements attached to the monthly payments, which is likely an effort to garner more bipartisan support in an evenly divided Senate.
“There is a really strong bipartisan legacy with the child tax credit,” Carothers said.
“That’s really an avenue for durable policy change and ensuring the future of the credit stays as successful as it’s been in the past,” he continued.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.