Politics

Vice President Harris urges Americans to file taxes for Child and Earned Income Tax Credit benefits







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Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday urged Americans to take advantage of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit this tax season, which stand to provide tens of millions of families with much-needed financial relief. 

“Working families deserve a break,” said Vice President Harris during remarks delivered at the White House’s South Court Auditorium where theGrio was present for the Biden-Harris administration’s Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit Day of Action.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a Child Tax Credit/Earned Income Tax Credit Day of Action event at the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building on February 8, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling, were joined by non-profit organizations for the event to encourage Americans to file their taxes in order to benefit from the expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit for low- and moderate-income families. 

“If you are eligible for the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, we want you to get those credits,” said Harris, who directed the public to go to ChildTaxCredit.Gov for information on how to claim benefits they are entitled to or to determine eligibility if they are not sure.

The tax programs were expanded through President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which was passed in March 2021. Funding for the Child Tax Credit increased from $2,000 per child to $3,600 for children under 6 years old and $3,000 for children between 6 and 17. Additionally, Earned Income Tax Credit for workers without dependent children increased from $540 to $1,500.

In an effort to provide relief to American families during the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government issued advanced monthly payments of the Child Tax Credit to millions of families. 

As Vice President Harris noted, “Millions of families have used their monthly Child Tax Credit — CTC — check to put food on the table, to save for college, to cover daily expenses, and to pay down debt.”

Harris said that in order to receive the second half of those tax credit payments, however, families will need to file their taxes. “You are owed more, but you still need to file your taxes,” she added.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a Child Tax Credit/Earned Income Tax Credit Day of Action event at the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building on February 8, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

However, there is a challenge to get Americans who do not ordinarily file their taxes to do so in order to receive their eligible tax credits. This is due to the fact that those who make less than the gross income required to file taxes typically opt out of filing their taxes and therefore miss out on tax benefits they are entitled to.

According to data from the U.S. Census, Blacks and Hispanics are over-represented among those living in poverty. Moreover, Black households have the lowest average household income, making Black families the most in need of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.

However, the Child Tax Credit is not a mainstay for the 2022 fiscal year as it expired last year. Democrats aimed to extend the tax program in the Build Back Better Act, which has yet to be passed in Congress after it was rejected by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat who argued that extending the Child Tax Credit would discourage people from working and that additional federal spending would further fuel inflation.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks to reporters after a closed door briefing with Senators at the U.S. Capitol Building February 03, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Angela F. Williams, president and CEO of United Way, one of the organizations in attendance at Tuesday’s event, told theGrio that the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit is “sorely needed” in Black communities. 

“Studies show that when the family is a mother, an African-American mom is able to get extra money, she invests in her child and provides the essentials that her child needs,” said Williams, “And so making sure that we’re getting the word out to African-American mothers, to fathers, to parents, to caretakers that are guardians of children to file their income taxes so that they can get what is due them is extremely important.”

United Way provides services and funding in health, education and financial sustainability. As Williams noted, the non-profit “partners on the ground in 90% of communities in the United States with those that are actually delivering services to communities in need.”

It’s organizations like United Way that the administration is leaning on to help reach Black and Brown communities to spread awareness about the need to file their taxes in order to receive payments from the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.

Williams said the tax credit payments available for American families is an investment in the younger generation, telling theGrio, “if we don’t, what we will continue to see is children in poverty.”

Children and teachers from the KU Kids Deanwood Childcare Center complete a mural in celebration of the launch of the Child Tax Credit on July 14, 2021 at the KU Kids Deanwood Childcare Center in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Community Change)

“People tend to focus on one thing, which may be, how are we spending money? Are we giving people more than they deserve? That’s really not the question to be asking. The question is as fellow citizens, how can we support each other to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve and to thrive?”

Vanessa Gonzalez, executive vice president of field and member services at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, said the Child Tax Credit is about economic justice.

“Economic justice is very much a civil rights issue,” Gonzalez said in a statement to theGrio.

“The evidence is clear – the expanded Child Tax Credit provided resources millions of families need to make ends meet and is helping to end child poverty in America.”

In her closing remarks during Tuesday’s Day of Action event, Vice President Harris referenced a letter she received from a mother in Pennsylvania who had benefited from the advanced child tax credit payments. 

“She described that they bought food, they paid their daily expenses, and they supported local businesses in the process. She wrote, ‘Nothing fancy.’  Just making a difference,” recalled Harris.

“And that’s why we are here today: to make a difference for working families across our nation, to offer just a little help.”

TheGrio is now on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!” 






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