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Source: Brooks Kraft / Getty

UPDATED: 9:20 p.m. ET, May 17

Original story: Feb. 8

Tens of millions of American families will begin receiving monthly payments from the new, expanded child tax credit beginning this summer, the Biden administration announced Monday morning. The announcement came on the same day as the deadline to file federal and state taxes.

Monthly payments of up to $300 per child 17 and younger will be paid to about 39 million families beginning on July 15. That’s about 88% of the children in America, according to the Treasury Department.

The payments are set to last for 12 months, thanks to the enactment of the American Rescue Plan in February.

The legislation provides $3,600 per child under the age of six and $3,000 for children ages six through 17. Monthly payments ranging from $250 to $300 would be allocated through July 15, 2022.

The IRS has provided a guide of options for how to file taxes for free in addition to offering free tax preparation through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs. Seventy percent of Americans are eligible for the expanded child tax credit, according to the IRS.

 

 

House Democratic leaders in February announced a plan to expand the child tax credit and moved forward with it as a part of President Joe Biden‘s COVID-19 relief package.

 

The assistance is expected to play an outsized role in Black and brown households, which have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and subsequent economic fallout from the pandemic.

The American Rescue Plan Act also has the potential of reducing child poverty. Included as a  part of Biden’s recovery plan announced in January, experts from Columbia University found that expanding the tax credit along with other proposed measures would reduce child poverty by more than 51%. 

Like the stimulus payments, the IRS would issue monthly checks based on the child’s age and the filer’s income. This would provide families with immediate relief instead of having to wait to file taxes. Single parents earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000 would be eligible for the full amount. Child tax payments would be available to families for a year.

While some have pointed to the potential bipartisan appeal of the proposal, the differences are deeper than a seeming consensus on increasing the child tax credit. For instance, Sen. Mitt Romney proposed a measure that appeared similar to the Democrat proposal. 

The Romney proposal would have provided $4,200 for children under five. But it would have eliminated other assistance relied upon by families including the child and dependent care tax credit, the “head of household” tax filing status, and the block grant for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  

Currently, the child tax credit gives families a credit up to $2,000 per child under age 17. In cases where the credit is more than the amount owed, families have their refund capped at up to $1,400 per child.

Statistics show that the pandemic has hurt Black and brown communities more than others, making the need for financial assistance exponentially pressing for them. Not only are Black people are dying from the coronavirus at nearly three times the amount as white people but Black unemployment remains the highest of any group.

Anoa Changa is a movement journalist and retired attorney based in Atlanta, Georgia. Follow Anoa on Instagram and Twitter @thewaywithanoa.

SEE ALSO:

VP Kamala Harris Makes First Tie-Breaking Vote On Resolution To Pass COVID-19 Rescue Package

COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Talks Show The Limits Of ‘Bipartisanship’

Notable Black Folks Who Have Contracted The Coronavirus
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