Tax Policy Center


Adam Kent

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From TaxVox


  • May 17, 2009
    Taxes aren’t just for grown-ups. In fact, our new Urban/Brookings study estimates that 40 percent of all federal expenditures spent on infants and toddlers flows through the tax system. That’s more than $22.8 billion. The two main programs that drive this spending are the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the child tax credit (CTC). Although both allocate fairly large percentages (18%) of their total program expenditures to families with infants and toddlers, they differ dramatically in the benefits that are refundable and those that are not. The EITC is fully-refundable, so in 2007 (the most recent year of available data), almost 90 percent of benefits received by families with infants and toddlers ($7.1 billion) came as a tax refund. In contrast, only one third of the partially refundable CTC benefits ($2.8 billion) were refundable, so most of CTC’s benefits reduced tax liability but failed to put cash back into needy families’ hands.