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An Online Resource Library on Gender-Based Violence.

Other Tax Credits for Low Income Individuals and Families

A number of federal tax credit programs are designed specifically for workers with children and dependents. The goal of these programs is to help workers maintain employment by offsetting the costs related to caring for children and dependents. This section includes general information about tax credits for families, as well as specific information about the Child Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, and the Adoption Tax Credit. In addition, this section explores credits available for those investing in their education and health.

General Information on Tax Credits for Families

The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law in March 2021 to provide relief to individuals, families, businesses, and tax-exempt organizations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Survivors may be eligible to receive $1400 per person through the American Rescue Plan Act (and more if they have children or other dependents). In addition to these economic impact payments, the act includes critical expansions of the Child Tax Credit and EITC, expanded unemployment benefits, and more. For more information on the American Rescue Plan Act and COVID-19 tax relief, see the following resources:

Child Tax Credit
The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is a federal tax credit designed to help working families offset the cost of raising children. First created in 1997, the CTC was expanded through the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, and then again through ARRA in 2009, to provide greater tax relief and make a portion of the credit refundable. Those improvements were then extended through December 31, 2012 in The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. This section provides information about the CTC including relevant legislative activity, eligibility, and how to access the appropriate application forms.

The American Rescue Plan Act provides for an Advance Child Tax Credit. Here’s what you need to know about the Advanced Child Tax Credit, from the Community Tax Law Project

  • You should file a 2020 tax return. Your eligibility for the credit will likely be based upon the information you report on your 2020 tax return.
  • The credit amount increased. The credit amount has been increased from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under 6, and to $3,000 for other children under 18.
  • Get payments ASAP. Individuals eligible for a 2021 Child Tax Credit can receive a portion of the credit in advance, via payments starting July 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021.
  • Online Portal to update information. The law requires the IRS to create a new online portal through which families can update their information for the credit. More specific information about the portal is not yet available.
  • The credit was expanded to include children aged 17 years old. Children 17 years old and younger will now be covered by the Child Tax Credit. 
Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) is a federal tax credit designed to help working families pay for the care of qualified individuals including children, adult dependents, or an incapacitated spouse. The goal is to offset care-related expenses in order for the taxpayer to maintain employment. The CDCTC is a percentage of the care-related expenses and varies based on the taxpayer's adjusted gross income. Currently, taxpayers can claim up to $3,000 in dependent care expenses for one child/dependent and $6,000 for two children/dependents. The credit is up to 35% of these expenses, depending on income; the lower the income the higher the percentage of care-related expenses that can be claimed. The current CDCTC benefits are a result of an expansion in the 2001 tax cuts that were extended through December 31, 2012 as part of H.R. 4853, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. This section provides resources with general information about the CDCTC, including eligibility and how to access the appropriate forms.
Adoption Tax Credit
The Adoption Tax Credit (ATC) is a program for low-income people who have expended qualified out-of-pocket expenses related to the adoption of a child. The credit amount depends on the expenses incurred. Families who have adopted children with special needs can claim the full credit, even if the expenses are less than the credit amount. Adoptions of children with special needs from the foster care system are also fully eligible, even if no adoption expenses were incurred. The ATC was made permanent in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. This section provides basic information about the ATC and explanations of eligibility and how to apply.
Higher Education Tax Credits
The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), which expanded and renamed the already-existing Hope and Lifetime Learning credit, can be claimed for tuition and certain fees for higher education. The AOTC, which was to expire at the end of 2012, was extended through December 2017 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. This section provides general information about the AOTC and allowable expenses.
Health Coverage Tax Credits
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also sometimes known as Obamacare), millions of Americans qualify for financial assistance to help cover the cost of health insurance. There are also special rules that pertain to victims of domestic violence. Note that the resources and information provided here pertain only to people enrolling in coverage through the federal marketplace. Different rules may apply to those receiving coverage through a state marketplace plan; through Medicaid, Medicare, or CHIP; or through an employer-sponsored plan.