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Whose kid is that? Dems want big changes in who qualifies for child tax break

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26.09.2021

House Democrats don’t just want to expand their signature Child Tax Credit payment program, they also want to redefine what it means to be someone's child.

As part of their sweeping reconciliation plan, they are proposing to overhaul, for the first time in almost a generation, the legal definition of a child that’s used to claim the hugely popular break. But that's not as simple as it sounds, and implementing it could become a bureaucratic nightmare.

Lawmakers want to make the definition more expansive, so that more people can claim the benefit worth up to $3,600 per child. They’re proposing to dump long-standing rules requiring a child to be a relative of the person taking the credit.

Instead, they want to award the money to whoever is caring for the child, regardless of whether they’re related.

That’s designed to be more flexible and to accommodate people in a wider variety of living situations — researchers say hundreds of thousands of kids are currently ineligible for the benefit because they live with, say, a family friend.

"Nobody can claim kids who are being raised by someone who is not a close relative — those kids just get cut off from the break entirely,” said Jacob Goldin, a former Treasury official who now teaches at Stanford University’s law school.

But some warn what Democrats are proposing would be complicated and difficult for the already beleaguered IRS to enforce.

It could also be confusing to taxpayers because lawmakers would not........

© Politico


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