Coalition launches effort to reduce child poverty in Detroit by connecting families with expanded Child Tax Credit
- Eligible families can receive up to $3,600 for every child in household
- Full participation could lift 8,000 Detroit families out of poverty
- The new campaign includes outreach across Detroit to inform residents about resources available to them as part of federal effort
- Get eligibility info and find assistance at GetTheTaxFacts.org
Nearly 20,000 Detroit children can be lifted out of poverty if every eligible family takes advantage of an expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) within the American Rescue Plan, a coalition of city and civic leaders announced today.
The one-year expanded provision of up to $3,600 per child under the age of 18 for qualifying families is available as a monthly payment starting in July — provided they file taxes. Although the tax filing deadline this year was May 17, there is no penalty for filing late if you do not owe taxes or are due a refund. If you do owe taxes, filing sooner will minimize any potential late fees.
To help as many families as possible take advantage of this one-time windfall, a coalition of nonprofits, the City of Detroit, and education partners and foundations are launching an outreach and engagement campaign to ensure parents and young people benefit from the newly expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC). The campaign is being led by United Way for Southeastern Michigan, City of Detroit, Community Development Advocates of Detroit, Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, Accounting Aid Society, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, the Kresge, and Skillman Foundations, and Ballmer Group.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cut childhood poverty in half across America, and the city has come together with dozens of partners to ensure Detroiters do not miss their chance,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, citing federal projections of the impact of the Child Tax Credits alongside enhanced unemployment insurance and other provisions of the American Rescue Plan.
“We anticipate reaching those families that otherwise would not have taken advantage of the credit unless assisted on the process,” Duggan added.
Who is eligible?
You qualify for the Child Tax Credit if you meet these three criteria:
- You are a parent, guardian, or caregiver with dependent children up to age 17.
- Your child has a Social Security Number. You can file with an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number), but your child must have a Social Security Number.
- You fall below the following income limits to receive the full credit:
- If you are single and meet the requirements for filing taxes as a head of household, your income must be under $112,500.
- If you are single and do not meet the requirements for filing as head of household, your income must be under $75,000.
- If you have a spouse and choose to file your taxes jointly, your combined income must be under $150,000.
- If your household income is above those thresholds, you will receive slightly smaller payments, depending on your income.
How to Ensure You Get Your Payments
If you’ve filed tax returns for 2019 or 2020, or if you signed up to receive a stimulus check from the Internal Revenue Service, you will get your Child Tax Credit payments automatically. You do not need to sign up or take any action.
If you filed 2019 or 2020 taxes, or utilized the Non-Filer tool for the Economic Impact Payments (stimulus check) but need to update your information, you will be able to add or change your bank account information on the IRS website in the coming weeks, through the IRS’s Child Tax Credit Update Portal.
If you haven’t filed 2019 or 2020 taxes, or have not used the non-filer tool on the IRS website to get your stimulus check you should file your taxes now or use the IRS non-filer tool.
Free Tax Preparation available
To learn more about the Child Tax Credit and to get free tax preparation assistance, residents can call 2-1-1 or visit GetTheTaxFacts.org. From there, they will be able to schedule an appointment for free tax preparation assistance or to learn more about the non-filer portal launched by the IRS.
Building on the Get the Tax Facts campaign launched by United Way earlier this year, this campaign hinges on the promotion of free tax preparation services and includes additional support to ensure Detroiters maximize other benefits for which they are eligible.
Longtime Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) providers Accounting Aid Society and Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency will provide individualized assistance to prepare and file taxes through virtual, drop-n-go, and in-person appointments.
Campaign organizers are also working with the Bank On coalition to help families without a bank account set up certified accounts to receive the monthly Child Tax Credit payments and other direct deposit state benefits.
To increase awareness, volunteers will be going door-to-door to thousands of low-income households. Community Development Advocates of Detroit, along with a group of community development organizations and other family-focused nonprofit organizations, will conduct neighborhood outreach efforts to share information about the tax credits, provide individualized support to residents to make tax preparation appointments, and help families to apply for additional benefits.
“Demand for ethical, quality tax preparation assistance for low to moderate income families has never been higher,” said Kathleen Aro, Accounting Aid’s president. “At Accounting Aid Society, we are focused on adding capacity and improving technology in order to serve as many metro Detroiters as possible in this critical moment and beyond. There has never been a more impactful time to volunteer or to invest in this work.”
“Ensuring that clients have access to free, non-predatory, secure tax preparation services is crucial for families to gain access to additional resources available to them, such as the CTC,” said Louis Piszker, Chief Executive Officer of Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency. “We have continued to utilize several different strategies to safely complete tax returns to meet the need for these families. We continue to see the need post-season and are expanding our efforts to help meet that demand and the community needs.”
“Our members are place-based organizations working in neighborhoods across the city. They are essential to connecting the families and children they work with to opportunities to thrive. These are the very organizations that serve people on the blocks where they live and are absolutely critical to any effort to connect children and families to resources,” said Madhavi Reddy, executive director of Community Development Advocates of Detroit. “We are thrilled to be able to work on this historic initiative to reduce child poverty with our members.”
“In our region, more than 128,000 families with children are struggling to afford necessities like food, quality housing, and child care, according to United Way’s ALICE report. We are committed to ensuring every family has the resources to meet their basic needs, which is why we’re proud to be part of this important effort to help households access their full, increased tax credit,” said Darienne Hudson, President & CEO of the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
“This coalition has come together to make sure that families raising children — particularly those with the lowest incomes and least access to resources — take advantage of the Child Tax Credit and other available resources,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of The Kresge Foundation’s Detroit Program. “And make no mistake: This is about families and children, and it is also about all of Detroit and the future of our city.”
Beyond the immediate campaign goals, partners in the effort believe this can demonstrate a model of how community-based organizations can coordinate efforts to expand access to public benefits and advance their economic mobility. Partners also hope for the success of this outreach effort to build a case for sustained federal investment to support children and their families.
“We know when we, as a community, invest in families it provides them with the tools to thrive,” said Luke Shaefer, faculty director of Poverty Solutions. “Making sure all eligible Detroit families access these critical resources and seeing the impacts is essential to help build momentum towards making this expansion permanent.”