Jan 19, 2022 - News

Philly funds grants to help families claim child tax credits

Image of paper cut family, with the child in the middle made of a dollar bill.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Philadelphia plans to spend $192,000 in a bid to help some of the city's lowest-income families claim federal child tax credits.

What's happening: The city and the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation announced grants of up to $20,000 to 17 community organizations to assist families in claiming the tax credit for free, officials said during a virtual news conference Tuesday.

Flashback: The federal child tax credit expanded last year from $2,000 per dependent under 17 years old to as much as $3,600 per dependent under 6 years old and up to $3,000 per dependent age 6-17.

  • Congress approved changes to the program as part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 billion American Rescue Plan, which passed last March.
  • Unlike in previous years, eligible families began receiving advance monthly payments of up to $300 for each child starting in July.
  • The program sent out more than 200 million payments and cost roughly $93 billion, according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Reality check: The increase to the federal tax credit expired Jan. 1 and Congress has not renewed it for the 2022 tax year.

  • Yes, but: Starting Jan. 24, eligible parents and guardians can still claim the remaining half of the expanded child tax credit for 2021.

Between the lines: Families must file a tax return to receive the credit. While low-income families are eligible, many don't file taxes because they have no tax liability.

What they're saying: Mayor Jim Kenney said the groups who receive the funding will help reach some of the city's most vulnerable families, including non-English speakers who "often get left out when critical benefit programs are made available."

  • The mayor criticized the federal government for often putting obstacles in the way of subsidies for low-income individuals, but declined to criticize the Biden administration.
  • "When wealthy people get subsidized, it's not that hard, it's not that complicated," he said.
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