THE LATEST


In October 2023, Governor Healey signed into law landmark legislation to increase the state Earned Income Tax Credit from 30% to 40% of the federal credit and streamline dependent credits into a simplified, boosted Child and Family Tax Credit of $310 per dependent in TY2023, increasing to $440 per dependent in TY2024. This expansion marks a milestone in our ongoing efforts to pass tax relief for families across the state. We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts with lawmakers and stakeholders to advance policies that uplift our communities and ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive. Read our statement, here.

ABOUT


The Coalition

The Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition is a statewide nonpartisan network of advocates working to improve the health and well-being of Massachusetts children and families by expanding the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child and Family Tax Credit (CFTC). Our growing coalition is led by Children’s HealthWatch at Boston Medical Center and consists of community-based agencies, legal advocates, researchers, professional associations, social service providers, tax preparers, health providers, and Massachusetts workers and their families. A list of partnership and supporting organizations of the Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition can be found at the bottom of this page under the “supporting organizations” section.

Formerly known as the Healthy Families EITC Coalition, since 2015 our network has successfully advocated to increase the state EITC, expand eligibility to survivors of domestic violence and abandoned spouses, pass a robust and inclusive CFTC, and invest over $1.5 million annually to support the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Policy Priorities

Increase the Massachusetts Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 40% to 50% of the value of federal EITC.
Raising the MA EITC match rate would increase financial resources for working families with low incomes, improving economic stability and children’s health. Research shows that a $1,000 credit reduces incidence of low birth weight and increases birth weight. A 50% match would deliver an average benefit of $1,050 to Massachusetts families.

Extend eligibility for the EITC to immigrants who file taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN).
Despite paying taxes, immigrant workers who pay and file taxes using an ITIN are excluded from claiming the EITC. Extending eligibility would further the equity impact of the credit and create consistency in MA refundable family tax credits. It would also position the state in line with D.C. and nine states – including our New England neighbors Maine and Vermont – that include ITIN filers in state EITCs.

Remove the dependent cap in the EITC.
Currently, the value of the EITC increases with family size, but only up to three children. Holding all else equal, a family with two children will receive the same credit as a family with four children. This unfairly penalizes larger families. For all households eligible for the EITC, the match should increase by 5 percentage points for each child above three children. This would mean a 5% increase for a household with four children, a 10% increase for a household with five

Index the Child and Family Tax Credit to inflation, thereby protecting its value over time.
The Child and Family Tax Credit will provide $310 per dependent in tax year 2023 and increase to $440 per dependent in tax year 2024. However, the credit is not slated to increase again thereafter. Indexation is essential to prevent erosion of the Child and Family Tax Credit over time. Increases in inflation over the last several years underscore the need to index tax credits and other benefits to inflation. Since 2018, the federal Child Tax Credit has lost 15 percent of its real value to inflation. This is particularly important to protect families with low incomes, who spend an outsize proportion of their budget on necessities like groceries and utilities.

Increase the Child and Family Tax Credit to at least $600 per dependent.
A benefit that ultimately reaches $600 per dependent will reposition Massachusetts in the top two-thirds of state dependent tax credits – falling behind California, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont, all of which have passed credits of at least $1,000 per dependent within the past year. A statewide poll found that 77% of Massachusetts residents supported a $600 credit. This widely supported increase would go further in helping families afford necessities and the cost of raising children and caring for other dependents.

Expand Child and Family Tax Credit eligibility to all children under the age of 18.
While the Child and Family Tax Credit is essential for families with children under 13, disabled dependents, and seniors, it excludes families with teenagers from support. Extending credit eligibility to include children of all ages would strengthen this credit and its intent: to provide financial relief to families with dependents in the Commonwealth. Extending age eligibility would recognize that costs of raising children do not stop when they become teenagers. In fact, family expenses can often increase as a child ages. For example, teenagers require more food to fuel their quickly growing bodies.

Improve access to refundable family tax credits through sustained funding for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and a robust communications and outreach campaign.
In Massachusetts, 20% of families eligible for the EITC do not claim the credit. Sustained VITA funding and a widely disseminated outreach and communication campaign on refundable tax credits would ensure that more households receive the credit. It would also protect families from for-profit tax preparers’ often exorbitant fees to claim the EITC and CFTC.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

The EITC is a benefit for working individuals and families with low to moderate income that reduces the amount of taxes they owe and may even provide them with a refund. It is a tax policy critical in reducing the financial burden of low-income families and has the potential to decrease food insecurity and increase health through shifting income towards spending on healthy meals and necessary medical care.

Child and Family Tax Credit (CFTC)

The new CFTC combines prior dependent credits into a single, streamlined refundable tax credit for families with children under age 13, disabled dependents, senior dependents 65+, and/or spouses who are unable to care for themselves. The credit is worth $310 per dependent in tax year 2023 and will increase to $440 per dependent in tax year 2024. The credit is universal (no income minimum), inclusive of immigrants who file taxes using an ITIN, and does not have a cap on the number of dependents who can be claimed.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Sites

The VITA program offers free tax help to people who generally make $60,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. Often located at community-based organization, IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. VITA sites also offer financial education and connect families with low incomes to other critical services, strengthening families and the local economy. VITA sites are a low-cost and high return activity offering an up to 60 to 1 return on investment. In a typical year, over 30,000 individuals are served by the 80 existing VITA sites across Massachusetts, and the services that sites provide results in $60 million in tax credits for taxpayers. Increasing awareness of these programs and increasing state funding will expand the capacity and reach of this essential and evidence-based program.

THE EVIDENCE


Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Child and Family Tax Credit (CFTC)

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 temporarily expanded the value of the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) and – mirroring the structure of the MA CFTC – made the credit fully refundable and available to families with no earned income. This change was transformational and temporarily reduced child poverty by 46 percent. Research from Children’s HealthWatch found that the advance CTC helped families catch up on rent and improved health. Though not offered in advance periodic payments, this research may demonstrate the impact that a robust state Child and Family Tax Credit may have in Massachusetts. In 2024, the Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition will work to measure the impact of the new CFTC.

Use the dashboard below to see the economic impact and number of dependents eligible for the Child and Family Tax Credit by legislative district.

Select the “Your District,” tab and choose the district from the dropdown.  The “Benefits” tab shows the dollars that will be available for families in tax year 2023 and 2024. The “Dependents” table displays the district’s number of eligible dependent children under 13, the number of eligible adult dependents, and the percent of the district’s population that is eligible for the $600 credit.

The tabs, labeled “MA House” and “MA Senate,” display maps of the House and Senate districts. Hover (hold your cursor over) any legislative district on the map to display data for that district.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS


2023

  • The HFTCC hosts an event at the Massachusetts State House celebrating the expansion of family tax credits.
    • Remarks from Gloria Cabrera on the impact of expanded family tax credits during the event.
  • The Massachusetts Legislature passes a landmark agreement to expand the state Earned Income Tax Credit and streamline existing dependent credits into a simplified, boosted Child and Family Tax Credit. This announcement marks a milestone in our ongoing efforts to pass tax relief for families across the state.
    • While we celebrate this achievement, we acknowledge that there is more work to be done. As we move forward, the Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition reaffirms its commitment to fighting for the health and financial well-being of caregivers, children, and working families. Read our full statement.

2022

  • The Massachusetts House and Senate unanimously advance an Economic Development package to 1) increase the state EITC from 30% to 40% of the federal credit; 2) combines the Household Dependent Tax Credit (HDTC) and Dependent Care Tax Credit (DCTC) into a single family credit and increases its value to $310/dependent.
    • While deeply disappointed that tax relief was ultimately stripped from the final economic development legislation, the Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition is encouraged that the Legislature will return to these critical expansions in the new session. Read our statement.
  • Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature approve the FY2023 budget, raising funding for the VITA program to $1.5 million.

2021

  • Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature approve the FY2022 budget, raising funding for the VITA program to $1.02 million.

2020

  • Governor Baker and the Massachusetts legislature approve the FY2021 budget, raising funding for VITA sites and operations to $820,000.

2019

  • Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature approve the FY2020 budget, including for the first time funding for VITA sites and operations at $200,000.

2018

  • Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature approve the FY2019 budget, increasing the state EITC from 23 percent to 30 percent of the federal credit.

2017

  • Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature approve the FY2018 budget, expanding the EITC to survivors of domestic violence and abandoned spouses by establishing a new tax filing status (married filing separately).

2015

  • August 5th, 2015: Governor Baker signs a law, increasing the state EITC from 15% to 23% of the federal credit.

IN THE NEWS


TESTIMONY AND STATEMENTS


The Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition has submitted the following statements and written testimony to the Legislature:

  • Letter to the Healey-Driscoll Administration on coalition priorities for FY25.
  • Statement on final tax package signed into law on October 4, 2023.
  • Letter from 107 local organizations and institutions in support of a $600, indexed Child and Family Tax Credit.
  • Letter from the coalition to the tax package conference committee in support a $600, indexed Child and Family Tax Credit, as included in the House version of the bill.
  • Letter from the coalition to the FY2024 conference committee urging inclusion of $1.5M for VITA.
  • Letter to the incoming Healey-Driscoll Administration on coalition priorities and permanent tax relief for families with low incomes.
  • Statement on the removal of permanent tax relief  for families with low incomes from the final economic development legislation.
  • Statement on MA tax relief legislation.
  • Written Testimony to the MA Joint Committee on Revenue on H.4361 (An Act to improve Massachusetts’ competitiveness and reduce the cost of living).
  • Written Testimony to the FY23 Conference Committee and leadership in support of the House level of VITA funding ($1.5M).
  • Written Testimony to the MA Joint Committee on Revenue in support of H.2871/S.1841 (An Act to increase family stabilization through the Earned Income Tax Credit) and S.1852 (An Act providing a guaranteed minimum income to all Massachusetts families)

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