Credit Claims For Boston Educators: Attorney Advice For Financial Stability – More than 100 state and local organizations are calling on elected officials to pass a $600 tax credit for children and families.
July 21, 2023, BOSTON – Today, 107 community-serving organizations and institutions called on the Massachusetts Legislature to prioritize children and families in the final tax legislation by advancing a $600 Child and Family Tax Credit and strengthening the Your earned income. The effort, led by the Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition and Children’s HealthWatch, comes at a critical time as a House and Senate conference committee negotiates differences between the tax proposals of both chambers and the Healey-Driscoll Administration.
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“Establishing a Child and Family Tax Credit that ultimately reaches $600 per dependent and is indexed to inflation offers a profound and historic opportunity to address affordable and affordable caregiving costs for Massachusetts families,” the letter said. “By putting money back into families’ pockets, the family tax credit is an effective anti-poverty tool that helps families meet basic needs and protect against material hardship, which in turn protects the health of family members throughout their lives. “
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To illustrate the impact of a more generous credit, advocates point to evidence from the temporarily expanded federal Child Tax Credit, which dramatically reduced the number of children living below the poverty line and helped families with young children pay for basic needs such as necessary food and rent. for good health. The letter also highlights that a growing number of states – 17 in 2023 alone – have invested in state family tax credits as an approach to increase affordability, close racial income gaps, and maintain competitiveness. Eleven states currently offer a child or dependent tax credit.
The Massachusetts Child and Family Tax Credit will support more than 1 million dependents in more than 700,000 families each year, and the Earned Income Tax Credit will reach more than 400,000 low-wage workers across the Commonwealth.
The Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition is a statewide nonpartisan advocacy network working to improve the health and well-being of Massachusetts children and families by expanding the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and passing a strong Child and Family Tax Credit and inclusive (CFTC). Our growing coalition is led by Children’s HealthWatch at Boston Medical Center and includes community agencies, legal advocates, researchers, professional associations, social service providers, tax preparers, health care providers, and Massachusetts workers and their families. A list of partnering and supporting organizations of the Tax Credit Coalition for Healthy Families can be found at the bottom of this page under the “supporting organizations” section.
Formerly known as the Healthy Families EITC Coalition, since 2015 our network has successfully advocated to increase the state EITC, expand eligibility for domestic violence survivors and abandoned spouses, and invest more than $1.5 million annually to support Volunteer programs Income Tax Assistance (VITA). .
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Increase the Massachusetts Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 30% to 50% of the federal EITC value.
Increasing the MA EITC match rate would increase financial resources for working and low-income families, improving economic stability and children’s health.
Despite paying taxes, immigrant workers who file taxes with an ITIN are excluded from claiming the EITC. These families have also been left out of federal aid throughout the pandemic, and have limited access to public benefits.
Establish a robust Child and Family Tax Credit (CFTC) that supports all children by combining the Household Dependent Tax Credit and the Dependent Care Tax Credit into one credit (a CFTC), increasing the value to at least $600/dependent, and remove dependent. age limit.
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Under current law, families must choose between two dependent credits: the Household Dependent Tax Credit (HDTC) and the Dependent Care Tax Credit (DCTC). Families claiming the DCTC can receive up to 25% more than families receiving the HDTC if they have qualifying child care expenses. This penalizes families who rely on other caregiving arrangements, such as stay-at-home parents and extended family members, as well as low-income families who may use subsidized care. Additionally, the dependent credit is currently only available to children under 12 and 13 (respectively), leaving out older children and other dependents. Streamlining the credits into one CFTC, equalizing the values, and removing the dependent age limit would simplify this process for families and give them a more generous credit to meet the needs of their entire household.
Currently the EITC and dependent credit increase with family size, but only up to three children or two dependents, respectively. All else being equal, a family with two children will receive the same credit as a family with four children. This unfairly penalizes larger families and is rooted in racist tropes that assume that families will have more children in order to get a slightly higher tax credit.
Improve access to the EITC through sustained funding for the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and a strong communications and outreach campaign.
In Massachusetts, 20% of households eligible for the EITC do not claim the credit. This rate may be higher for state dependent credits, which – like the 2021 federal Child Tax Credit – recently became fully refundable and available to families with no tax filing obligations. VITA funding supported by a widespread awareness and communication campaign about refundable tax credits and the availability of VITA sites to help low- and moderate-income families would ensure that more families receive the credit. It would also protect families from the often exorbitant fees of for-profit tax preparers to claim the EITC and CFTC.
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The EITC is a benefit for working people and families with low to moderate incomes that reduces the amount of taxes they owe and may even give them a refund. It is an important tax policy in reducing the financial burden of low-income families and has the potential to reduce food insecurity and increase health through shifting income from spending on healthy food and necessary medical care.
Under current law, the Dependent Household Tax Credit and Dependent Care Tax Credit are already available to the majority of families with eligible dependents, including those with no earned income and immigrants who file taxes with an ITIN. This existing structure is important, because it supports families who often leave policies and for whom a fully refundable tax benefit can have the greatest impact against poverty. Massachusetts has the opportunity to expand this impact and rise as a leader for families with children, especially since Congress failed to restore the expanded 2021 Child Tax Credit – an expansion that reduced child poverty nationwide by 46%.
The VITA program offers free tax help to people making generally $60,000 or less, people with disabilities, seniors and non-English speaking taxpayers who need help preparing their own tax returns. Often located in community-based organizations, certified IRS volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation and electronic filing to qualified individuals. VITA sites also provide financial education and connect low-income families to other important services, strengthening families and the local economy. VITA sites are a low-cost, high-return activity that offers up to 60 to 1 return on investment. In a typical year, more than 30,000 people are served at the 80 existing VITA sites across Massachusetts, and the services that the sites provide result in $60 million in tax credits for taxpayers. Increased awareness of these programs and increased state funding will expand the capacity and reach of this essential evidence-based program.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 temporarily expanded the value of the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) and – mirroring the existing MA dependent credit structure – made the credit fully refundable and available to families with no earned income. This change was transformational. Monthly advance payments helped families pay for food, rent, transportation, childcare and other necessities as well as educational and enrichment activities for their children. Child poverty was reduced by 46 percent. Research from Children’s HealthWatch found that advance CTC helped families catch up on rent and improve health. Although periodic prepayments are not offered, this research can demonstrate the impact a strong state Child and Family Tax Credit can have in Massachusetts.
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Use the dashboard below to see how many dependents would qualify for the Child and Family Tax Credit proposed by the legislative district.
Select the “Your District” tab, and select the district from the dropdown. The chart shows the district’s number of eligible dependent children under 13, the number of eligible adult dependents, and the percentage of the district’s population that qualifies for the $600 credit.
The tabs, labeled “MA House” and “MA Senate,” show the four House and Senate districts. Hover over (hold your cursor over) any legislative district on the map to display data for that district.
Interested in learning more or getting involved with the Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition? Fill out this Google form or contact Charlotte Bruce directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) is a credit given for qualified education expenses paid for a qualified student during the first four years. in higher education in
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