As part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which they passed in March, the Democrats increased the Maximum Child Tax Withdrawal (CTC) parents can claim for each of their children under the age of 18 in 2021 to $ 3,000, or $ 3,600 Dollars for each child under the age of six, and made the full value of the loan available to families with no income for the first time. Enlargement lifted three million children out of poverty in the first month alone, which will improve their educational, health and economic outcomes throughout their lives if policies are continued.
The Democrats have made expanding this policy a core part of their $ 3.5 trillion Build Back Better agenda. But despite the success, the Democrats are only proposing to extend the expanded CTC until 2025 at the latest, because the annual cost of continuing the current expansion will roughly double after the corresponding guidelines from the GOP Tax Act 2017 expire. Fortunately, they can solve this problem and make these appropriate guidelines permanent.
The GOP Tax Act temporarily doubled the maximum CTC to $ 2,000 and allowed more high-income parents to qualify as part of a wider effort to consolidate family tax breaks. Previously, parents could apply for up to $ 1,000 worth of CTC for each of their children, and all households could reduce their taxable income by $ 4,050 for each “personal exemption” they requested for themselves and their loved ones .
Taxpayers could also choose to deduct the cost of certain expenses from their taxable income or to claim a “standard deduction” that is the same for everyone. The GOP Tax Act temporarily lifted the personal exemptions, but increased the CTC (which replaced the exemptions for children), doubled the standard deduction (which replaced the exemptions for taxpayers themselves), and created a non-refundable credit of $ 500 for non-children .
To prevent their bill from increasing the deficit after 10 years, which would have prevented them from passing it through the filibuster-safe “reconciliation process,” Republicans put this and many other provisions in their bill for 2025, which is the cost of the CTC – Formal Democrats’ expansion surge after this year.
The official Scorekeepers of the Joint Committee on Taxation and Congressional Budget Office assess the tax implications of all proposals over a 10-year window relative to their “current law” or the amount of expenses and income that would be incurred if Congress were not passed any new laws. With the GOP tax bill shrinking the CTC after 2025, the gap between the spending levels proposed by the Democrats and the current bill would widen. The phasing out would increase the cost of the expansion by approximately $ 530 billion for 10 fiscal years. Should the Democrats’ expanded CTC be made permanent, families in 2026 would be entitled to both the expanded CTC and the larger per-child leave that existed in 2017, meaning the tax break per child would be even greater than it is today.
Instead of creating an unintended bonus perk that increases the cost of the CTC expansion, the Democrats should simply make the changes to the personal exceptions and standard deduction permanent. Based on figures from the Tax Foundation, PPI estimates that permanent waiver of personal exemptions while maintaining the increased standard deduction and credit for non-eligible dependents will reduce the net cost of CTC expansion to the Democrats by more than every year after 2025 Would lower $ 100 billion.
As a result, Democrats may only need about $ 800 billion in additional compensation over the 10 year window to make the current CTC permanent (and even less if they’re willing to consider a slightly smaller expansion). While that number could be easily underestimated, as the Office of Management and Budget predicts the CTC expansion would cost about 10 percent more than the Tax Foundation, the cost of this package will likely still only be about half of the 1.6 The extended CTC alone is permanently trillion dollars.
Making these reforms permanent would not only help fund the CTC expansion but also give the Democrats one of the few progressive components of the GOP’s tax law. The expansion of the CTC is more progressive than tax exemptions for dependent persons, as loans directly reduce the final liability of the taxpayer, while tax exemptions lower their taxable income, giving those in high tax brackets a greater advantage than those in low tax brackets. The increased standard deduction, on the other hand, only benefits households that do not list their deductions individually, i.e. households with disproportionately low and middle incomes. Making this progressive performance consolidation permanent now would prevent Republicans from using the continuation of the middle class tax cuts as a vehicle to push through further tax cuts for the rich in 2025.
The Democrats do not want their most rigorous poverty reduction policies in a generation to expire in less than four years. If polls show that a majority of voters support the current CTC expansion but are skeptical about continuing it after the pandemic, lawmakers cannot necessarily rely on their successors to keep a temporary extension from expiring. Rather than jeopardizing these important benefits to bypass household valuation rules, Democrats should protect their political achievements and help pay for them by augmenting other family tax rules in place today.
Brendan McDermott is a financial policy analyst at the Progressive Policy Institute’s Center for Funding America’s Future.