For Immediate Release: June 21, 2021
Contact: Kelly Allen or 304-612-4180
Charleston, WV – The White House declared today “Child Tax Credit Awareness Day” to raise knowledge and awareness about the transformative improvements to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) approved as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The CTC provides much-needed relief to families, boosting opportunity and improving long-term prospects for tens of millions of children.
Improvements to the CTC this year could reduce child poverty by 43 percent in West Virginia, according to analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. As part of the ARPA, Congress increased the amount of the credit for 2021 from $2,000 per child to $3,600 for children under 6 years old and $3,000 for children between 6 and 17 years old.
An estimated 65.6 million American children will benefit from improvements to the CTC, including roughly half of all Black and Latinx children, whose families (along with other families of color) are disproportionately employed in low-wage jobs because of historic and ongoing discriminatory policies and practices.
This year, for the first time ever in addition to increased payments, families with children can receive up to half their CTC as advance payments, rather than as one lump sum when they file their taxes. This will provide much-needed assistance to families sooner, so they can make ends meet month-to-month. The Biden Administration has indicated first payments will be distributed in July. An estimated 346,000 West Virginia children—93 percent of all kids in the state—live in households that could receive their first payments next month. Additionally 170,000 children in the state will benefit from the temporary expansions making them eligible for the full credit this year even if they haven’t been previously due to phase-ins that punished the lowest-income households.
In announcing CTC Awareness Day, the White House also announced the rollout of two online portals that families can use to sign up for and manage their CTC advance payments. Families who have already filed 2019 or 2020 taxes or who signed up for stimulus payments will automatically receive advance payments in July. Families who have not yet filed or aren’t typically required to file taxes because their incomes are too low will be able to sign up through a new online portal available at https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-non-filer-sign-up-tool.
“Raising children is vital, hard work, and it’s even harder when families don’t have enough money to make ends meet,” said Kelly Allen of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. “Families need support to raise their families, and the Child Tax Credit provides that support to the vast majority of West Virginia households with children. The American Rescue Plan Act’s improvements to the CTC will make a real difference for families and kids by making it easier to afford housing, food, clothing, health care and child care. We urge every West Virginia family to claim their CTC.”
Programs such as the CTC that lift children out of poverty are linked with improved prospects for those kids’ futures, including improved health outcomes, higher math and reading scores, less use of drugs and alcohol, and higher rates of college entry. But to fully achieve those long-term benefits, Congress must make permanent the ARPA’s temporary improvements to CTC. Long-term extensions of the CTC are part of the American Families Plan, which Congress is considering as it develops economic recovery legislation later this year.
“This year’s expansion of the Child Tax Credit will help many West Virginians make ends meet this year, but without action from Congress, the rug will be pulled out from under those families when expanded eligibility and benefits expire in 2022,” said Allen. “Our elected officials must make these improvements, which will lower child poverty in our state by 43 percent, permanent to help improve the lives of children, from all races and backgrounds, for generations to come.”
For more information on the Child Tax Credit, West Virginians can visit childtaxcredit.gov.