The newly expanded federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) will provide a significant financial boost for families throughout the U.S. While most low-income families have already received advanced payments of the new CTC, because families need to have filed a tax return to receive it, some low-income families will likely miss out on receiving some or all of the credit. This brief sheds light on which Californian children and families are at risk of not receiving the CTC. Using matched social services and state tax data, we analyze the characteristics of over 650,000 children who we estimate are at risk of not receiving the expanded CTC. One main reason that these children may miss out on the CTC is that their families had little reason to file taxes before the pandemic.
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1. Over half (56%) of children at risk are Hispanic and 30% speak Spanish at home.
2. Almost half of all children at risk of not receiving the CTC are either part of families headed by undocumented adults or are headed by an adult who would usually not file their own tax return because they could be claimed as a dependent.
Children at risk of not receiving the CTC, by family type
Notes: Sample size is 556,003.
Source: California Department of Social Services data (2019–20) and Franchise Tax Board data (TY 2019).
3. Using household information that was available for about half of the at-risk children enrolled in SNAP or TANF, we find that most of the children live in single-headed households with extremely low incomes.
The California children who may miss the 2021 federal Child Tax Credit – California Policy Lab