Families looking forward to expanded child tax credit

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Jul. 12—Mary Osborne said the expanded and advanced child care tax credit will free up enough money for her son to start playing a musical instrument.

"Please look at this as an investment in our children, in our families and in our state as a whole," Osborne said.

And Nancy Glynn of Sutton said it means her son can go to camp this summer.

"This, at the end of the day, helps create a harmonious household," Glynn said.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., heard these and other stories, during a virtual discussion about changes to the federal child care tax credit that kicks in Thursday.

"This is still a real tenuous time for a lot of people, especially for many women who haven't been able to return to the workforce," Hassan said Monday.

The American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March expanded the tax credit, raising it from $2,000 per child to $3,000 for a child, 6-17 years old, and up to $3,600 for a child under 6.

For the first time it will make these families eligible for monthly payments, $300 for younger children and $250 for school-age kids.

In the past, the credit was given only when families filed their annual tax returns.

"Families are able to save a bit for the rainy day. Having money come consistently when they really need it is a game changer," said Christina D'Allesandro, senior campaign director of Moms Rising, an interest group for working families.

The Internal Revenue Services created a portal for families to check to see if they are already enrolled to receive the monthly payments through this December.

The change also makes the tax credit refundable for 2021.

This means a low-income family can receive a tax refund check if the tax credit is greater than what they owe in total taxes that year.

Liz Grady, a mother of four who is expecting a fifth child, said the credit will allow her family to catch up on its bills, something difficult to do with one income.

she said.

Dr. Keith Loud, physician-in-chief at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth, said families who aren't able to make ends meet face "toxic stress" that can make the health care challenges for their children even more serious.

"I can't think of a more exciting development right now that's going to make a difference than this expansion," Loud said.

The COVID-19 relief bill passed last December contained $19 million in child care grants for New Hampshire programs.

Sen. Hassan has proposed legislation to make the child care tax credit changes permanent.

President Joe Biden's own proposal would extend the benefits through 2025.

klandrigan@unionleader.com

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