Mayor Jim Kenney was joined by City officials and community leaders recently to urge Philadelphians to claim the Child Tax Credit passed as part of the American Rescue Plan and to call on federal lawmakers to make the changes permanent. The benefit, included for one year in the ARP, will provide payments of $250 or $300 per child monthly to eligible households, starting in July, but individuals must file their taxes to qualify. The credit is expected to provide a major boost for working and middle-class families and could lift an estimated 75,000 Philadelphians out of poverty.
“The expansion of the Child Tax Credit is absolutely critical to our efforts to reduce poverty here in Philadelphia and nationally,” Kenney said. “It could bring as much as $1 billion to Philadelphia families. That’s money they can spend on food, clothing, diapers, housing, or anything else they need to live more securely. I strongly encourage all Philadelphians to file their taxes as soon as possible so they don’t miss out on this opportunity.”
Individuals with children who are single with income under $75,000; single and file taxes as a head of household with income under $112,500; or married with combined income under $150,000 are encouraged to file their taxes as soon as possible. The IRS filing deadline was Monday, May 17, but for people who are owed a refund there is no penalty for filing after that date. Most Philadelphia families can file for free with the Campaign for Working Families, a safe and trusted partner of the City of Philadelphia, by visiting cwfphilly.org or calling 215-454-6483.
“Thanks to the work of Congress and President Biden in passing new tax law changes, families and individuals will benefit more than ever this year. However, they must file their 2020 taxes right away if they haven’t already,” said Mary Arthur, president and CEO of Campaign for Working Families. “Our IRS-certified tax preparers and trained volunteers stand ready, willing and able to help Philadelphia families get the refunds they deserve. We can assist individuals in person, virtually, or guide them through e-filing on their own returns.”
As a federal tax benefit, the payments will not affect other public benefits like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) cash assistance, Social Security Income, or Medicaid. If made permanent, economists estimate the benefit could be the most impactful anti-poverty measure since Social Security.
“Children deserve the opportunity to thrive, and this money would give them and their families a guaranteed source of income and a shot at success, but this cannot be a temporary benefit,” said Mitchell Little, executive director of the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO). “This is a pivotal moment that could not only drastically improve the lives of tens of thousands of Philadelphians this year but put a major dent in poverty for decades.”
“The Child Tax Credit is important for all families in Philadelphia, including mixed-immigrant status households,” Will Gonzalez, executive director of Ceiba, a coalition of Latino community-based organizations that also provide free tax prep, added. “Families with children that have Social Security Numbers are eligible for, and deserve, these critical resources that will help them afford basic necessities at a time when the economic impact of COVID is still deeply felt in our communities.”
To help bring awareness to the issue and the importance of making the changes to the credit permanent, the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee designated the week of May 10 “Child Tax Credit Week of Action.”
“We are committed to partnering with the City to make sure that the families who need the help most will benefit from this new and meaningful opportunity,” said Debby Freedman, executive director of Community Legal Services. “This will be a heavy lift – many Philadelphians do not file taxes and those communities will need to be brought into the tax system. The City has been a true partner in helping Philadelphians access income supports, and we are grateful for their commitment to fighting for justice and caring for Philadelphians in need.”
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