No matter where I go in Colorado, I meet parents who are working incredibly hard — two or three jobs at a time — but struggle to afford housing, health care, early childhood education, higher education and/or child care. No matter how many jobs they hold or hours they put in, they can’t save for their children’s future or their own. The truth is: Our economy over the last 50 years has worked really well for the top 10% of Americans but has left the rest of America behind.
That’s why I’ve spent years fighting to expand the Child Tax Credit, which boosts incomes of 96% of Colorado families to help cover the growing cost of raising kids. In March, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, which included my proposal to significantly expand the Child Tax Credit — essentially offering all low- and middle-income families a tax cut in the form of regular, monthly payments.
If you’re a parent, chances are high that you’re eligible to receive this extra income this year — starting in July. The improved Child Tax Credit will give families an income boost of up to $3,000 per year for each qualifying child between the ages of 6 and 17, and up to $3,600 per year for each qualifying child under the age of 6. On July 15, most families will receive their first payment (up to $300 per child under age 6 and up to $250 per child age 6-17). This will continue on or around the 15th of the month in August, September, October, November and December. Families will receive the rest of their credit at tax time next year, in 2022. If you have already filed your 2020 taxes, you do not need to do anything to receive the Child Tax Credit. Most families in Colorado will automatically begin to receive their payments on or around July 15 as a direct deposit in their bank accounts or as a check in the mail. The government will estimate your payment based on your 2020 tax returns (or your 2019 returns if you have not yet filed this year).
If you have not done so already, you need to file a 2020 tax return to receive the monthly payments. You can do this at IRS.gov/childtaxcredit2021. If you are not required to file taxes, you may also use this website to sign up for monthly payments. In the coming weeks, you will be able to use this website to update your information about changes to your income, address, bank account, filing status and the number of qualifying children. And, if you prefer to receive your 2021 Child Tax Credit in one lump sum at tax time, you will have the opportunity to opt-out of receiving the monthly payments on this website, too. If you do not know if you are eligible to receive the credit or need further assistance in the Denver metro area, please reach out to the Colorado Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) at 303-603-4600. If you are in need of further assistance and live outside of the Denver metro area, please call 877-777-4778 to be connected to your local taxpayer advocate.
More than 96% of families with kids in Colorado will benefit from the expanded Child Tax Credit. For families, this means direct monthly help to cover the cost of rent or groceries or to save for your kid to go to college or summer camp. It is the most significant investment the federal government has made in American families and children in decades, and we want to make sure that everyone who is eligible for these payments receives them.
To learn more, visit childtaxcredit.gov or irs.gov/childtaxcredit.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.