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Fletcher: Monthly tax payments will help parents cover growing childcare expenses

A record number of families will receive increased support for childcare expenses as tax credit payments begin reaching bank accounts today.

U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Houston held a round table event with representatives from BakerRipley, the IRS and Lone Star Legal Aid on July 15 to help local families learn more about the legislation that was approved in March.

As part of the American Rescue Plan, the maximum payment increased from $2,000 to $3,000 for each child between the ages 6-17 with an extra $600 dollars for each child younger than 6 years old. The increased payments are split up into monthly installments over the last six months of 2021 as opposed to all at once in a tax refund.

Eligibility to receive the full child tax credit was increased to single filers earning up to $75,000 or married couples earning up to $150,000. Partial child tax credit payments phase out at $200,000 for single filers or $400,000 for married couples.

Families do not have to file taxes to receive the increased child tax credit. The Treasury Department estimates that 35.2 million families will receive a check in July.

“One of the reasons we did the round table was to help understand what the community concerns are,” Fletcher said. We’re mostly hearing from folks who wanted to know… the provisions and how it worked, but I haven’t heard a ton of concerns yet, more just some technical questions. That’s why we’re still looking into partnerships with BakerRipley where we were last week. We’ve got great partners in the community. So, for us, a big part of what we need to do is connect people to people who can help with their very specific questions.”

According to Fletcher approximately 82.5 percent of the families living in TX-07 — a roughly L-shaped district spanning from Jersey Village to just northeast of Cinco Ranch to Bellaire and had a population of 762,826 in the last census — are eligible for the full tax credit.

She cited a study from Columbia University that showed that the increased child tax credit would cut the U.S. child poverty rate nearly in half from 14 percent to 7.5 percent. According to Fletcher, there are approximately 15,000 children living in poverty in TX-07.

“I think the thing that was most beneficial is increasing the eligibility for the full extent of the tax credit to all families, the full extent of the tax credit, because the families that need it the most weren’t eligible for the full tax credit,” said Fletcher.

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