NCLR Denounces Senate Efforts to Deny Child Tax Credit for Latino Children
May 31 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Congressional Proposals Would Push Millions of Latino Children Deeper into Poverty
Today, NCLR (National Council of La Raza), First Focus, and the National Community Tax Coalition held a telephonic press briefing to decry Senate efforts to eliminate the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for millions of Latino children. Under current law, taxpayers who use an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) are legally allowed to claim the refundable Child Tax Credit on their federal taxes if they work, earn low wages, and are raising children in their homes. On average, these families claiming the refundable CTC earn an annual household income of $21,000 and receive a CTC refund of $1,800. In 2010, ITIN tax filers paid over $9 billion in payroll taxes to support Social Security and Medicare, which was more than 2.5 times what they received from the Child Tax Credit.
Leading the push for the elimination of the Child Tax Credit for ITIN taxpayers are Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) who have introduced measures to do away with this critical safety net. Sponsored by Rubio, S. 3083 would strip eligibility for the Child Tax Credit from over four million Latino children, approximately 133,000 of whom are in his home state of Florida. At least 80 percent of all children affected by the proposed denial of the Child Tax Credit are Latino.
“If these bills are passed, it is likely that several million Latino children will be driven even deeper into poverty,” said Leticia Miranda, Senior Policy Advisor at NCLR’s Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation. “Latino families depend on this credit to help feed, clothe, and educate their children. Instead of going after those who circumvent the law, these proposals are focused on wresting away basic necessities from our country’s most vulnerable—our children,” continued Miranda.
Those pushing for the passage of this measure should instead turn their attention to curbing business and corporate tax abuse, which in 2006 was estimated to have cost over $170 billion. Despite documented cases of widespread corporate tax fraud, tax credits for corporations have continued to flow freely. Fraud at the commercial tax preparer level is also of increasing concern as unscrupulous paid tax preparers prey on immigrant Latino families, taking advantage of their limited English proficiency or lack of knowledge of tax law.
“The IRS already is phasing in important new regulations of commercial tax preparers aimed at strengthening accountability,” said Sean Noble, Director of Public Policy and Research at the National Community Tax Coalition, which represents volunteer-based programs providing free tax preparation services to low- and moderate-income working taxpayers. “These new rules should help cut down on abuse while increasing compliance and quality of services for taxpayers. In addition, we should ensure that the IRS has the enforcement resources it needs—and we should bolster outreach to Latino and low-income communities to help them find high-quality tax preparation services that are both affordable and accountable.”
Vitter and Rubio’s proposals are under consideration in the Senate Finance Committee, though efforts for a floor vote could mean the bills may be considered by the full Senate in the coming days or weeks.
“Rather than pass legislation that cuts off access for millions of children who need it most, we should consider targeted improvements to preserve the integrity of the Child Tax Credit,” said Wendy Cervantes, Vice President for Immigration and Child Rights Policy at First Focus. “With child poverty at a 20-year high, Congress should be strengthening proven anti-poverty measures rather than weakening them and hurting kids in the process.”
Geography:California, Far West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Texas