The Puerto Rico government has created an educational campaign to encourage people to apply for money that they are eligible for through the Child Tax Credit program.
The Child Tax Credit in Puerto Rico
The Child Tax Credit provides a refundable tax credit for parents of as much as $3,600 per child. In Puerto Rico, however, it was until this year available only beginning with the third child in a family.
Since full Puerto Rico eligibility for payments under the Child Tax Credit was enacted only one year ago, many Puerto Rico residents are not aware of their eligibility, nor do they know how to apply for funding that is well established to make a difference in the lives of working families.
For the current tax cycle, families of all sizes will be eligible for the Child Tax Credit, regardless of their number of children. In order to receive the money they qualify for, these families will have to file a federal tax return. Income earned in Puerto Rico is not subject to federal income tax, and most residents of Puerto Rico are not typically required to file a federal tax return.
As part of the American Rescue Plan Act, Puerto Rican families will not have an income requirement to receive the credit, and it will be fully refundable, meaning that qualifying families will receive the full amount regardless of income level.
Senator Elizabeth Rosa Vélez, the author of the bill enacting the education campaign, told Noticel, “It is a way to tackle child poverty.”
The Educational Campaign
The educational campaign is spearheaded by the Department of the Family and the Puerto Rico Corporation for Public Broadcasting (WIPR). Using radio and television, the campaign is steering families to Orientation and Preparation Centers of Forms, which will assist families to file their income tax returns.
“It’s an easy form,” said Senator Juan Zaragoza Gómez, co-author of the bill, “but it can’t be done through the treasury.”
Residents of Puerto Rico will also be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can be received only by filling out the territory income tax form. Many families will therefore need to fill out two income tax returns to get their full benefits.
“We cannot afford the luxury that the money stays on the table and is not claimed,” said Zaragoza Gómez.