Still owed half of the expanded Child Tax Credit? Don’t forget to claim it on your returns.

Published: Feb. 08, 2022

Even as Congress failed to renew the expanded Child Tax Credit, millions of Americans can still benefit from it.

The monthly payments of $300 to $350 many families received last year covered only half of the expanded credit, part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus law.

When they file their 2021 federal income tax returns, Americans can claim the rest of the credit of $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for children between 6 and 17, or the earned income tax credit of up to $1,500 for those without children.

The tax cuts benefitted 1.6 million New Jersey children and 354,000 workers without children, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive research group.

Americans also need to file a tax return to get the $1,400 checks in the stimulus law if they haven’t already received them.

“You are owed more, but you still need to file your taxes,” Vice President Kamala Harris said Tuesday at an event to remind taxpayers that they still may be entitled to an additional tax cut.

Some families didn’t get the monthly checks because their child was born last year and are entitled to the full payment.

There’s a website to get information and assistance: childtaxcredit.gov.

“There’s still so much money on the table,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. “In many cases, we’re talking about families who are still entitled to $3,000 to $3,600, depending on the age of their child.”

Lawmakers at a Capitol press conference Tuesday offered a similar message, even as they continued to push for extending the Child Tax Credit. While a one-year extension was part of the 10-year, $1.75 trillion bill that passed the House, it failed to get the 50 votes needed for Senate approval when U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., came out against it along with every Republican.

Lawmakers said Manchin hadn’t closed the door on renewing the tax credit, perhaps with limitations, even as he said Tuesday that he was not part of any organized discussions.

Proponents, including U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, said they hoped to change Manchin’s mind through the information gleaned from the impacts of the tax credit.

“Now we’re not arguing over opinions of what this policy will do,” Booker said. “We have the data. I’m hoping that becomes even more compelling to get the momentum to get this done.

For example, the expanded credit cut child poverty almost in half and reduced hunger by 25%.

“These are the most successful and progressive tax policies passed by Congress in generations,” said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. “The last thing we should be doing is doubling childhood poverty.”

The benefits extended beyond that. One study found that the cash payments improved babies’ brain patterns. Another study found that the payments did not discourage the parents from looking for work. And the U.S. Census Bureau reported that around half of those receiving the checks spent some of in on food, about 40% on their rent or mortgage or on utilities, and 30% on school supplies.

“We can read stories all day on the floor of the House, on the floor of the Senate,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. “It’s been a lifeline for them. How many federal programs have we seen that achieve their goal? Why would we want to pull that rug out from under them?”

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-02-09 03:04:49 -0800