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Correcting the Record: Tax Relief for American Families & Workers Act Maintains Child Tax Credit Safeguards Established in 2017 GOP Tax Law Against Improper Payments

January 26, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act maintains all of the safeguards made to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in its 25-year lifespan, including a social security number (SSN) requirement established by Republicans in the 2017 GOP tax law. 

The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act reforms the CTC to boost work incentives, eliminates the penalty for larger families, and indexes the credit to inflation to help families struggling in the Biden economy, all while maintaining the structure of the 2017 GOP tax law that safeguards against claims made by illegal immigrants and ineligible persons. This protection makes the Child Tax Credit one of the few tax code provisions with such a strong requirement.

Today, the Child Tax Credit remains among the most secure credits in the federal tax code that protects against improper claims and includes safeguards against payments to non-citizens. Prior to the 2017 GOP tax reforms, the improper payment rate for the CTC reached 25 percent. After Republicans put in place a new Social Security Number requirement for a child to be eligible for the credit, the improper payment rate dropped by half. Since the inception of the Child Tax Credit, taxpayers with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) have been able to claim the credit only if their children are eligible – a situation currently covering less than 0.75 percent of all tax filers thanks to the SSN requirement instituted by Republicans in 2017.

Many provisions, such as the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, Saver’s Credit, and deductions like the standard deduction and the teacher expense deduction claimed by millions of people each year have no such requirement for filers to provide their SSN. 

Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) released the following statement alongside a fact sheet explaining the important safeguards maintained in the bill:

“The Child Tax Credit reforms in this bill are pro-family policies that maintain the child tax credit structure of the Trump-era GOP tax reform. It halts any push for monthly checks and provides no special loopholes for illegal immigrants. In fact, the plan still requires a Social Security number for children which was added in the 2017 GOP tax reform.

“Maintaining the credit structure, and rejecting calls for monthly checks and no work requirements, incentivizes work and benefits millions of hard-working American families. In fact, studies by tax experts, including the Joint Committee on Taxation, have found that this bill would have a positive effect on work incentives. The Child Tax Credit provisions in this bill help families crushed by inflation, remove the penalty for families with multiple children, and maintains work requirements. I am committed to delivering relief for those families who have spent years struggling under the weight of rising inflation.” 

FACT SHEETCorrecting the Record: Child Tax Credit and Immigration

READChild Tax Credit Reforms in Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act Are Proven, Conservative, Pro-Family Policy