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Empty Your Piggy Banks, Kids – H.R. 3630 Would Make You, But Not Millionaires, Pay Up

The “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act” (H.R. 3630), introduced by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R. Mich.), contains a very Scrooge-like pay-for to extend unemployment insurance benefits, payroll tax cuts, and doctors’ Medicare reimbursements: taking tax benefits away from low-income working families. H.R. 3630 would impose a new requirement for tax filers claiming the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit. As suggested by its name, this credit is intended to help families meet the costs of raising children. The credit is refundable for low-income families with at least $3,000 in earnings.

Specifically, H.R. 3630 would prevent tax filers from claiming the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit without a Social Security Number. This means that the brunt of the cuts to this important tax benefit would fall upon immigrant families. I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that proponents of the bill will justify this change in tax law (one that just happens to hurt low-income families) by saying that it will prevent ”waste, fraud and abuse.” But the IRS has internal processes for stopping improper payments (aka an audit) and continues to explore ways to prevent fraud. The effect of this bill is to restrict eligibility, and vulnerable kids are clearly going to lose out.

If it seems unreasonable and downright grinchy to make low-income families with children (among others) to help pay for extending unemployment insurance benefits for people around the country who have lost their jobs, extending payroll tax cuts, and keeping doctors’ Medicare reimbursements from being slashed, instead of asking very high-income tax filers to pay their fair share – that’s because it is.