The IRS is sending what could be the last round of expanded child tax credits Wednesday.
The federal aid program, launched during the pandemic, has sent hundreds of dollars directly into the bank accounts of families on the 15th of every month since July.
With the program expiring, Wednesday’s payments mark the last of the sixth monthly payments — unless Congress revives the program for 2022, which appears uncertain.
Eligible parents have been getting a monthly tax credit of up to $300 per qualifying child under the age of 6, and up to $250 per qualifying child between 6 and 17 years old.
Eligibility for the payments has depended on either the parent’s 2019 or 2020 income tax return filings or — for those who don’t typically pay taxes— the IRS’s non-filer tool. The payments are available for joint filers making up to $150,000 a year, or heads of households earning up to $112,500.
The American Rescue Plan increased the child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,000 per child over the age of 6, and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under the age of six, and raised the age limit from 16 to 17.
If President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion economic plan does not pass the Senate, the monthly payments will expire, bringing the child tax credit back to the smaller pre-pandemic level.
Lawmakers would need to pass the package by Dec. 28 to make sure the mid-January payments can be distributed on time, the Treasury Department has warned.
Child tax credit expansions are expected to cut child poverty by 40%, with some 4.1 million children expected to be lifted above the poverty line, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.