Governor urges residents to apply for a pair of federal tax credits
By John McPhaul
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Monday announced several government initiatives that are underway to help citizens apply for the Child Tax Credit (CTC).
The governor said the CTC, along with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), are two vital programs to help combat child poverty and improve the conditions of all working families on the island.
“First of all, the Earned Income Tax Credit is the most effective federal program to encourage work. We believe that many families can benefit from this important program that helps working Puerto Ricans and their families,” the governor said at a press conference. “Over $800 million will be distributed by the Treasury Department to our workforce. Of that, $612 million comes from federal funds and is ensured for the next 10 years.”
He noted that every working person who is a resident of Puerto Rico who is 19 years old or older, and who generates gross earned income, may request the EITC on their income tax return.
In the case of the Child Tax Credit, the governor said that this year, due to the pandemic, any person who is the guardian of children under the age of six will be able to receive $3,600 per child, while for children between six and 17 years guardians can receive $3,000.
“For this credit it is not necessary to be in the labor force, since the only requirement is to be a guardian of minors and be within the income limits,” Pierluisi said. “Next year, the benefit goes back to $2,000 for each dependent under 17. This is a very important federal program that puts funds in the pockets of our families and seeks to ensure that our boys and girls do not live in poverty. Now, all families are eligible, not just those with three or more dependent minors, as it was before.”
The governor pointed out that the impact the CTC benefit will have for families is great, since for a family with two children it implies a benefit of $6,000, or the equivalent of an increase in income of $500 per month. The CTC may be claimed on or before April 18 of this year and only on the federal tax return, using Form 1040 PR.
On La Fortaleza’s website an EITC and CTC calculator can be accessed, into which anyone can enter their income and number of dependents to produce an estimate of their benefits.
“We have been in constant communication with the federal government, including the White House, the IRS and key members of Congress, and we have received constant support to encourage everyone on the island to take advantage of these incentives,” the governor said, adding that there is a federal website that includes local information: www.childtaxcredit.gov/puerto-rico.
“Given that many of our people have not gone through this process before and that the majority of our people do not file a federal return, we have given ourselves the task of carrying out a comprehensive strategy to promote, encourage and help our families to complete the return and claim this important incentive,” Pierluisi said. “More than 500,000 families are eligible for these credits and we want everyone to have access to them.”