by Jeniffer Solis, Nevada Current
November 2, 2021
Nevada families have received more than $600 million from expanded child tax credit direct payments since the program began in July.
In October, more than 590,000 children in Nevada benefited from the credits, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service.
Nationwide, more than $15 billion in advance child tax credit money was distributed during the month. In Nevada, $153 million was distributed to 352,000 qualified families, representing 594,000 eligible children. That follows the $150 million distributed to Nevada families in September.
September saw a slight drop in the number of families and children receiving child tax credit payments compared to previous months. About 349,000 qualified families, representing 584,000 eligible children received payments, according to data from the U.S. Department of Treasury.
For 2021, the child tax credit was expanded from $2,000 per child to $3,600 per child under 6 and $3,000 per child 6 and older. Half of the expanded child tax credit is being distributed via advance monthly payments of $250 or $300 per child. Those direct deposit payments and checks began being distributed in July and will continue through December.
The remaining half will be paid in a lump sum when families file their 2021 taxes next spring.
The American Rescue Plan also made the child tax credit fully refundable, meaning previously ineligible low-income families can now benefit. The U.S. Treasury estimates that nearly 61 million children nationwide benefitted from that change. Nationally, more than $61 billion dollars in direct payments have gone to families since July.
The average child tax credit payment received per qualifying family was $434 in Nevada, according to the IRS. That aligns with the national average payment of $430.
Experts have said the expanded child tax credit has the potential to cut child poverty in half.
“Since July, the advance Child Tax Credit has provided monthly direct assistance to families to help them cover basic household essentials like food and childcare,” said Deputy Secretary Adewale Adeyemo in a statement. “It’s clear this tax relief is meaningfully improving the lives of children in every corner of the country, which is why Congress must act to extend it so these monthly payments don’t end after December.”
Within weeks of the first payments going out, the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey data showed that more than half of middle-income families spent their child tax credit payments on food, 26% spent it on clothes, and 23% spent it on costs related to school and afterschool.
A recent national survey from researchers at the Social Policy Institute found that 42% of parents planned to save at least some of the payment in a college fund for their child and 24% planned to use their child tax credit payments for childcare expenses.
Researchers at the Columbia Center on Poverty and Social Policy found that the initial payments were associated with a 25% decline in food insufficiency among low-income families with children.
The expanded child tax credit is set to expire in December absent an extension of the program.
The Biden administration initially proposed continuing the child tax credit expansion through 2025 as part of the “Build Back Better” social spending plan. Other Democrats have argued for making it permanent. The latest iteration of the plan, announced last week, would extend the program for another year, through December 2022.
In the meantime, families who have not filed can still file and receive payments until November 15, which would then be distributed between November and December, or in December as a lump sum. If parents fail to file this year they can still claim their full child tax credit during next year’s tax season.
The Treasury department says they have made efforts to train more than 7,000 “navigators” to assist families who have not filed. The IRS has also worked to reach non-filers in non-English speaking communities.
Researchers from the Urban Institute, found that Nevada could see child poverty reduced by 41% if expansions to the child tax credit were made permanent.
In Nevada, continuing the expanded credit beyond 2021 would reduce child poverty to 9.2% from 15.7%, a fall of roughly 41%, according to the analysis, lifting 44,000 children out of poverty.
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