Lessons From The 2021 Child Tax Credit Expansion Informing State Policy Debates

In 2016, President Trump signed an executive order expanding the child tax credit, a move that cut child poverty in half and led to a 1.4 percentage-point drop in poverty over a year.

Two years later, the credit is set to expire, and a new report from the Urban Institute and the University of California-Berkeley Opportunity Lab finds that the program has had a positive effect on children, reducing racial disparities and helping low-income families file returns more easily.

Here are five takeaways from the report: Full CTC refundability reduced racial disparities.

Prior to the expansion of the CTC in 2016, one-third of US children (those living in the lowest-income families) did not qualify for the full credit.

Among Black and Hispanic households with children, one-half did not qualify.

Because the credit was made fully refundable in 2021, families at the bottom of the income distribution could get the same benefit as those with higher incomes.Simplified tax filing helped families who don't traditionally file taxes claim the credit.

The IRS automatically delivered CTC payments to many families based on recent tax information the agency already had.

State-level CTCs.

Since the credit was expanded, 29 states have either created or expanded CTCs or EITCs, and eight of those have done so in

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