Treasury to launch education effort for relief package
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration says it will launch a major campaign to make Americans aware of the benefits available under the $1.9 trillion relief package President Joe Biden signed into law last week.
Officials at the Treasury Department briefed reporters Thursday on the efforts they are planning, including highlighting a provision in the measure that expands the child tax credit.
Under current law, most taxpayers can receive tax credits of up to $2,000 per child. The new virus relief bill increases that tax break to $3,000 for every child age 6 to 17 and $3,600 for every child under the age of 6.
The expansion of the child tax credit, along with other measures in the rescue act such as impact payments of up to $1,400 for eligible family members, will cut childhood poverty in half this year, according to an analysis done by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University.
But officials face the challenge of getting the word out to families that they qualify for the new benefits.
Treasury officials detailed how the IRS will establish an on-line portal for taxpayers to update their relevant tax data to obtain the expanded child tax credits, such as notifying the government of the birth of a child in 2021. These updates will allow the IRS to make mid-year payment adjustments.
“In addition to this online tool, the Treasury Department and IRS will will carry out a sweeping public awareness campaign … to reach all Americans who may be eligible for this financial assistance,” a Treasury fact sheet said in reference to the expanded child tax credits.
On Wednesday, Treasury said in the first week since Biden signed the $1.9 trillion relief package into law, officials have disbursed 90 million in economic impact payments totaling $242 billion. The bulk of those payments were made by the IRS as direct deposits into bank accounts.
After signing the bill last week, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris made the first stops on what will be a nationwide tour by administration officials aimed at highlighting the benefits of the new relief package.
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer