Minnesota leaders urge families to explore eligibility for new child tax credit

Published 6:21 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

By Dana Ferguson

After state lawmakers last year approved a new $900 million child tax credit program, they are making the case to families to file their taxes so they can potentially claim the benefit.

Revenue officials joined Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan on Monday at a St. Paul free tax preparation site to trumpet the new credit.

Email newsletter signup

According to the Department of Revenue, 48,000 filers took advantage in the first week of income tax filing. Officials said they plan to campaign around the state to convince all of those people that they should file and claim the benefit.

State leaders said the new program could cut the state’s child poverty rate by a third, but that’s only if all 300,000 expected to be eligible for the credits file to get them.

“This goal might sound ambitious but I believe that we can spread the word and get it done,” Flanagan said. “I told the governor that I would be willing to wear a sandwich board all across the state if that’s what it would take.”

She noted that the credit applies even if people make too little to have a tax liability. “You can still be eligible for the child tax credit, which is why it is so important for us to spread the word or if you’ve never filed before, this is the year to start,” Flanagan said.

The program offers a tax credit of up to $1,750 per child. The credit amount varies depending on a household’s earning level. And it phases out after household earnings reach certain thresholds.

There’s no limit on the number of children in a home who could qualify.

A couple with one child under age 17 and a combined annual income of $35,000 could see a tax credit $1,000 more than they’re getting in working family credits now.

Meanwhile, a family with four kids and making $90,000 that had been ineligible for relief in the past could stand to see a $750 credit.

The Department of Revenue said it is developing a calculator tool to let residents see if they are eligible for the credits. In the meantime, agency officials encouraged Minnesotans to contact the department or free tax preparation organizations to check if they could receive the funds.

“We’re trying to get out to spaces, because the key is about that 10 percent of the 300,000 families that have not ever filed in the past. And that is the real target, those folks,” Revenue Commissioner Paul Marquart said. “So we’re getting out. It’s really an across the enterprise of the state government to really do this outreach.”