Increase Awareness and Use of the Child Tax Credit Among Latinos
WASHINGTON, DC—UnidosUS is launching a national campaign to increase Latino uptake for the Child Tax Credit (CTC) across the United States and in Puerto Rico. A recent survey found that Hispanic parents were less likely to claim the CTC on their tax return compared to white and Black parents, even though Hispanic children account for 41 percent of all children living in poverty. The campaign aims to raise awareness and visibility, increase community use of the credits and close implementation gaps. “The CTC is one of the most powerful poverty-reducing tools ever created, and millions of Latino families have been lifted out of poverty since it was first implemented two decades ago. But there are many more Hispanic families who could benefit from the credit but are either unaware that the credit is available or are reluctant to apply for it. Yet the boon to our community and our country of all Latino families eligible receiving the credit are enormous—the potential to reduce Hispanic child poverty by more than one-third and reduce racial inequities.” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía. “To accomplish that, though, we must address outstanding implementation gaps such as lack of culturally competent outreach which prevents many eligible Hispanic families from claiming tax credits. Outreach to families who have no tax filing requirement and those in Puerto Rico are especially important, as they are newly eligible under the American Rescue Plan Act and may be unaware of the program or the free online resources to claim the credit.” UnidosUS’s nationwide campaign will work with our Affiliate Network of nearly 300 organizations and collaborate with groups on-the-ground, the White House, the Puerto Rican government, Department of the Treasury and other allies to develop an effective strategy to connect families to tax filing resources. This year is the first time Puerto Rico residents will be able to apply for the credit regardless of the amount of children they have. Right now, 57 percent of children in Puerto Rico are living in poverty. The campaign will also work to raise awareness of other barriers that need to be addressed to ensure equitable access among Hispanic and other taxpayers to increase participation rates in tax credit programs such as:
Public charge rules raise fears of immigration repercussions. Since 2017, immigrants and Hispanic U.S. citizens have increasingly avoided government programs for which they’re eligible, including tax credits, out of fear that receipt could hurt their ability to obtain lawful permanent residence.
Inequitable administrative burdens and barriers. Historical policy design has channeled fewer resources into tax preparation and other means-tested agency offices in low-income and communities of color, shifting administrative burdens to the applicant.
Lack of culturally competent outreach, such as finding translated documents on the CTC or Spanish-speaking, low and no-cost tax preparers which makes it more difficult for Hispanic families with low English proficiency to access the CTC and makes them more vulnerable to predatory, for-profit tax preparers.
Financial costs of obtaining tax credits which reduce their value because low-income families pay an average $400 per tax year to file their taxes.
Higher unbanked rates, which makes it impossible to receive credits as direct deposits and creates additional costs when credits are received as paper checks which must be cashed.
About the expanded Child Tax Credit: The expanded and improved CTC is part of the American Rescue Plan Act and aims to help families raising children make ends meet. The CTC provides eligible families $3,000 a year for each child between six and 17, and $3,600 per year for each child under six years old. Moreover, the CTC is completely refundable and does not have a work requirement this year. Families with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) are eligible to apply if the dependent claimed in the tax return has a valid Social Security number. These expansions are only available for the 2021 tax year and families need to complete a tax return to receive the money that they are eligible for. To learn more about the campaign, visit https://www.unidosus.org/esperanzahopeforall/childtaxcredit/
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