Reforming the Child Tax Credit: How Different Proposals Change Who Benefits

Brief

Reforming the Child Tax Credit: How Different Proposals Change Who Benefits

December 9, 2015

Abstract

The federal child tax credit provides a credit of up to $1,000 per child under age 17; the refundable portion of the credit, which is crucial for low-income families, is limited to 15 percent of earnings above a defined threshold. That threshold is set to increase from $3,000 to almost $15,000 after 2017, which will dramatically reduce benefits for the lowest income families and eliminate benefits entirely for almost half of workers in the lowest fifth of the income distribution who have children. This brief analyzes the impact of extending current rules beyond 2017 along with other reforms that tend to benefit higher-income families.

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