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“Vaccine hesitation” has become a popular term as public officials urge unvaccinated Americans to protect themselves against the latest Covid-19 outbreak.
Now, it turns out that there is also another uncertainty – “tax hesitation” – which sets in with some parents about the increased monthly child tax credit payments.
The Child Tax Credit was temporarily enhanced this year to provide more generous monthly benefits and payments to qualifying Americans. This includes up to $ 300 per month per child under 6 and $ 250 per month per child 6 to 17. In total, families can receive up to $ 3,600 per child under 6 and $ 3,000 for ages 6 to 17.
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Half of the payments will be made to parents through monthly checks, while the remainder will be paid at tax time.
Monthly payments started in July.
Yet recent reports indicate that around 4 million or more children who are eligible for payments could fall through the cracks, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
One of the reasons parents may be reluctant to go through the enrollment process is fear that disclosing their personal financial information to the government could harm them in some way, said Dorian Warren, co-chair. of Community change, a Washington, DC-based advocacy group focusing on minorities and low-income women.
Most taxpayers automatically receive monthly child tax credit checks. However, the new more generous conditions make the loan fully repayable, which means that the poorest households are now eligible for the first time.
Many of these families typically do not file with the IRS and therefore are not registered with the government.
In order to help these people register, the IRS has a online tool where parents can submit their information.
However, tax hesitations may prevent them from enrolling, Warren said.
One of the reasons is the fear that families will hit a benefit “cliff” and become ineligible for other help if they take out the child tax credit.
Plus, shame could hold them back if they don’t want to admit that they aren’t filers or that they haven’t filed tax returns for a year or two, Warren said.
“Objectively, there is no validity to the cliff of benefits or to the loss of benefits,” Warren said.
Plus, families could miss out if they don’t register.
“There is so much money,” Warren said. “He’s just sitting there on the table.”
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The efforts to educate eligible communities right now are huge, Warren said.
Research has shown significant economic benefits of expanding credit. About 90% of children will receive more credit or receive the credit for the first time, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Plus, for every $ 1 spent on a child tax credit, it earns $ 8 in benefits that would be spent later, President Joe Biden said.
For Community Change, the message to parents focused on how the monthly payments of $ 250 or $ 300 would help their families.
“This is not a scam,” Warren said of the enhanced child tax credit. “It’s actually their own money that goes to them to support their children.”
Parents should, however, be wary of schemes that have arisen to deceive those who want to enroll.
To this end, the IRS has initiated a social media campaign with warning signs to watch out for.
Community Change works to help parents access the right resources, through tactics like peer outreach and recruiting TikTok influencers to help spread the word.
Still, there are some challenges, Warren said. The non-filtering tool, for example, doesn’t allow people to register from their cellphones, which is how most low-income people access the internet, he said.
In addition, no funding was allocated to people who could help people navigate the portal to register, as was the case with the Affordable Care Act in 2014.
Community Change hopes state and local governments will use some of their funds from the US bailout to hire community navigators.
For the parents who received the money, it makes a difference in everything from the cost of food and diapers to preventing loss of rental housing, now that the national moratorium on evictions has expired, Warren said.