June 21, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – “For the Children” Weekly Column
Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: (405) 833-1117
For the Children: A Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, CEO – OICA
Child Tax Credit Awareness Day Highlights Tax Relief for Working Families
While tax returns were due June 15, we wanted to share good news about an important issue regarding taxes for next year. Working families will benefit from tax relief packages passed at both state and federal levels of government.
OICA worked with Oklahoma policymakers to make the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) fully refundable. EITC is a tax credit offered by state and federal governments to help low-to-moderate income families you keep more of their money. It is a refundable income tax credit, meaning if families receive more from the EITC than the amount of state income tax they owe, the difference will be a refund.
In 2016, Oklahoma legislators took away the refundability of the state EITC. This hurt more than 200,000 low-to-moderate income families. Thanks to a section of House Bill 2962 passed in May, the refundability will be restored at the beginning of 2022.
In 2021, the earned income credit ranges from $1,502 to $6,728 depending on tax-filing status, income, and number of children. People without kids can also qualify. If you fall within the guidelines for the credit, be sure to claim it on your federal return when you do your taxes and if you did not claim the earned income credit when you filed your federal taxes over the last three years, but you think you qualified for it, the IRS encourages you to let it know so you can get that money back. More details for filing the federal credit can be found at https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit-eitc
Also at the federal level, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 passed this year expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) by increasing the amount for children to $3,000 annually for older children and $3,600 annually for children under age 6. This credit is fully refundable, even for families with no earned income. Half of the credit will be sent to families in advance as monthly payments starting in July.
Advocates from around the nation held a Child Tax Credit Awareness Day on Monday, June 21. An estimated 8 million children nationally are at risk of missing the benefit because parents may not know the options available. OICA promoted this on our social media as we supported this day of action to ensure all who deserve the credit get it.
Most people who are eligible for the Child Tax Credit will receive it automatically if they filed taxes for 2020 or 2019 or used the IRS non-filer portal to claim their stimulus payments last summer. However, people who did not file their taxes (because they make too little to be required to) need to either file their 2020 taxes now or use the new non-filer portal, which we are told will be quite simple; a link for the portal can be found at ChildTaxCredit.gov.
These families are, realistically, the hardest to reach, that is why Child Tax Credit Awareness Day was so important. But that is not the end of the effort. Please help us reach those who might qualify by sharing this information. Please note that families will not lose other federal or state benefits if they receive the CTC.