Historic improvements have been made to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) with the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). If we are successful in getting these credits into the hands of the lowest-income families, we can reduce child poverty by almost half. Philanthropy has an important role to play to ensure that the hardest to reach families can access the benefits and continue to explore improvements and modernizations to these fundamental government programs. The first program of the EOF 2021 Fall Funder Learning Series, this webinar explored how we arrived at this once in a generation moment, whether these improvements are sufficient, and how this fits into the broader movement for building a just and inclusive economy.
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2021 Fall Funder Learning Series: Tax Credits: The Anti-poverty Tool of the 21st Century
September 22, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT
The ARPA expansions of the CTC and EITC are on the verge of becoming permanent as part of the Build Back Better Act – a major victory toward making our tax code more equitable. How did we get here? Today’s success is decades in the making, borne of incremental steps forward during which policy advocates and grassroots organizations seized every window of opportunity, no matter how small, to reach their long-term goals of refundability, expansion, and inclusion. And that work was made possible with support from funders who not only supported advocacy efforts but also helped build organizational capacity that allowed for more strategic, impactful work.
But despite the immense value of the expanded credits, if they are not inclusive of those who file with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), they offer little support for hundreds of thousands of families struggling to get by. Removing the requirement for a Social Security number to claim these credits is critical for advancing a more equitable tax code. This is a politically charged issue and not without challenges. By positioning diverse voices through grassroots efforts to push their elected officials, citizens can wield their political power and, in turn, improve their confidence in a government that helps its people.
While all eyes are on the pending legislative victory for the CTC and EITC, we cannot overlook the importance of implementation and outreach to ensure these credits reach everyone who is eligible. There is a major grassroots movement underway now to make this happen, but administrative barriers continue to be a problem. Despite a major effort to improve delivery, communications, and accessibility, additional efforts through direct outreach must be funded – these seemingly small efforts can make a big difference in CTC and EITC participation rates.
Philanthropy must bring multiple perspectives to the table and commit to this work for the long haul. We must continue to support grassroots efforts, connect tax policy work to existing priorities, and arm advocates with the narratives, data, and research they need to support this vital work.
The Early Promise of the Child Tax Credit: Banking Data Indicates Increased Stability Through Savings, SaverLife, September 23, 2021.
Hear Us: Make Progress Permanent Through the Child Tax Credit, By Katrian Gamble & Jeremie Greer, Next City, September 16, 2021.
House Bill Takes Major Steps Forward for Children, Low-Paid Workers, By Kris Cox and Chuck Marr, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, September 11, 2021.
Report: Measuring the Child Tax Credit’s Economic and Community Impact, By Samuel Hammond, Robert Orr, Niskanen Center, August 2, 2021.
Guaranteed Income Policy Brief, By Jeremie Greer and Emanuel Nieves, Liberation in a Generation, June 2021.
Impact of the EITC and CTC and Strategies for Funders, EITC Funders Network, June 2, 2021.
Administering a Child Benefit Through the Tax Code: Lessons for the IRS from Abroad, By Samuel Hammond, David Koggan, Niskanen Center, May 27, 2021.
We welcome your participation in all three programs of the EOF Fall Funder Learning Series: Building Systems of Economic Support for an Equitable Recovery, where we will explore the critical role of income supports – tax credits, cash supports and unemployment insurance – in building a stronger, more equitable recovery and how funders can show up to meet this moment.