While America should not be a nation of dependency, there does need to be a safety net for families and individuals struggling to make ends meet. One such program is the refundable child credit, which provides cash payment to low-income parents who pay no income tax. For example, a family earning $16,000 a year with two children would receive more than $7,000 in combined cash payments.

These payments are considered means-tested welfare programs as they aim to reduce the amount of income tax a family owes.

While these credits can be a great relief for struggling American families, there is mounting evidence that many illegal immigrants living in the United States are claiming these cash credits for their children.

Heritage’s tax expert Curtis Dubay explains the scope of the problem:

The extensive and rapidly growing problem is that illegal immigrants who reside in the U.S. are able to acquire ITINs (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number)  from the IRS and then use those identifiers to file tax returns on which they claim the child tax credit and its refundable payment. A study from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reports that the number of ITIN filers claiming refundable payments nearly doubled between 2005 and 2008 from 796,000 to 1,526,276.

Conservative estimates show the federal government will spend $7.6 billion over 10 years on child tax credit payments to illegal immigrants.

But relief is in sight, the House has introduced a bill requiring proof of a social security number in order to receive the child tax credit.

Dubay concludes,

The government should not reward illegal immigration by providing illegal immigrants with cash welfare aid through the refundable child credit. The purpose of the refundable child tax credit is to help low-income working families that are legal citizens or authorized to work in the U.S.

What do you think about the Child Tax credit?

Comments (42)

James Conger - August 14, 2012

It is a total scam. Just listing relatives (nephew) in Mexico or Canada (they have no SS#) gets $1000 each. How the H— do they expect real taxpayers to “pay up” honestly when they are throwing the money away.

Emily Carpenter - August 14, 2012

It shows that our gov. has grown to large and we should
stop doing this.

Dale Feuerborn - August 14, 2012

Eliminate it. It isn’t necessary.

George Rebane - August 14, 2012

By definition all children are wards of adults designated by law. Government aid to children should go through such adults who establish their bona fides with the relevant agencies.

Curtis Smith - August 14, 2012

I totally agree with Dubay on the issue

Rufus Dyer - August 14, 2012

The Child Tax Credit is the extreme of government over reach. When you give people something for nothing it makes them a slave to the government and provides no real long lasting benefit to the receiver. Taking from one to give to another creates nothing.

Robert F. Sanford - August 14, 2012

Should be limited to USA citizens for a limited period, illegal families should be deported to their native countries!!!

sam - August 14, 2012

I thought the child tax credit was just that a credit given in your tax return for children at or under college age. I did not know you get C A S H! Not a good idea.

Ron Gilley - August 14, 2012

Like most other federal welfare programs, the Child Tax Credit is and will continue to be abused. It is too easy to obtain and the size and scope of the program make policing almost impossible. We need fewer welfare programs that are administered at the state level if we ever hope to rein in out of control spending.

Rex Talmage - August 14, 2012

The whole idea of the Child Tax Credit stinks to high heaven!! Even at age 87, by diligent effort, I was able to find a part-time job, so I could pay my bills. I could have had THREE MORE part-time jobs if I needed a full-time income. I didn’t,so there were two other part-time jobs waiting for someone else, IF they were willing to work instead of suck off of welfare!

john banks - August 14, 2012

The tax credit should not be supporting illegal aliens or their families ! Many of the state governments and our president Obama selectively enforce the existing immigration laws and govt attitude towards illegals which results in more illegal immigration and more expenditures from the public treasuries .

Jerry Rotzin - August 14, 2012

I am totally opposed to any kind Child Tax credit. Plain and simple–What have they done to earn it–nothing,nothing and nothing. I wrote to the Speaker of the House when I first heard of this several months ago.

maxine Blotter - August 14, 2012

I think most of the time they are not used for the purpose they were meant for, Usually the family is in trouble because they make poor decisions or work habits. I knew a young mother that was gettingo them and every year when the check came she and her friends, who all were about in the same boat went to Los Vegas for a week and spent most of the money. Many times they had a car that needed work or other expenses that the money should have gone for but they only thought of the right now.

Joan Hamblin - August 14, 2012

Illegal immigrants should not be eligible for this tax credit. Period.

Doug B - August 14, 2012

Refundable tax credits should first go toward the maximum S.S. tax, which is why the credits were first instituted (to reduce the disparate impact of FICA on low income earners). Remember, these credits come after non-refundable credits reduce tax liability to zero. Everyone should have to pay something.

f g - August 14, 2012

It’s just another case of the politians giving away tax dollars from those who are employed to anyone who may vote. In the case of illegal immigrants you can be certain that the successor organizations of Acorn are promoting this fraud while opposing Voter I.D. legislation. Devious, destructive liberals.

Leonard Hartman - August 14, 2012

I worked tax preparation for H&R Block in South Texas for three years. Child tax credit was widely abused.
Over heard was one mother saying she was suppose to get $20 from her friend for letting that friend use this mother’s child on her tax return.

Fred Baker - August 14, 2012

This loophole should be plugged immediately!
Illegal immigrants should NOT receive any benefits at all.
They have no right to be rewarded!

John Smith - August 14, 2012

The bill that the House has introduced should have been in the CTC requirements in the first place. It’s a good thing that someone is doing something about this.

The big question is will the Dems try to stop it? After all, the liberals are also trying to stop voter ID laws. It wouldn’t surprise me if they come up with an excuse for this one.

Donna Johnson - August 14, 2012

If no income tax has been paid, then no refund should be forthcoming. It goes without saying,that allowing illegal aliens to file and receive the hard earned tax dollars paid by the legal citizens of our nation, is just another example of the corruption of our leaders.

Harry Elston - August 14, 2012

It sounds like normal inability to do one’s duty
to protect the taxpayers of this country by what
has become a clownish congress on both sides.

Ed Gardner - August 15, 2012

I am supportive of the Child Tax Credit as long as the IRS monitors it’s use by US citizens only.

J. Hopkins - August 15, 2012

If this government cares so much about taking care of our children, then why do they drive up exorbitant debt, which will enslave them and future generations. Benefits should be granted to legitimate citizens of our country, others have no legal right to these benefits. As with all legislation, unintended consequences (and means to monitor these), controls and oversight should be included in the legislation.

Dave Polhill - August 15, 2012

Who can apply for an ITIN and how is it validated? All refunds to itin’s should be suspended until all have been validated.

fred hodges - August 15, 2012

Adults should not have children if they can’t afford to provide them with a decent standard of living.

Nnncy McElwee - August 15, 2012

It is a betrayal to the American Taxpayer. Not only Mexico and Canadian relatives (nieces, nephews etc), but Philippines and other countries as well. We are funding half the world, who must think we are “suckers”.
Somehow, word gets out to these people while the American Taxpayer is uninformed.
Either our law makers and bureaucrats are totally naive, or totally dishonest. I am inclined to believe the later.

Richard Dubberly, LaCrosse, Fla. - August 15, 2012

Something for mostly nothing (must at least have some work income) is always dangerous for the soul. Is it spent responsibly on the family, is it addictive as other welfare money can be and not temporary help. This sounds more like the EIC. What percentage move upward and leave the EIC? As for illegals the SS# is what I put on my 1040 every year. The key word in ITIN is individual, and they should have a SS# also. And the House has to write a bill to thwart illegals that legal citizens have to compy with. IRS head up rectum.

Doug B - August 15, 2012

If you want to really go bonkers, consider the “Earned Income Credit”. I’ve had clients who claimed nearly $20K cash income from odd jobs (usually for a relative) so they would qualify.

Elaine Beal - August 15, 2012

The country should not be assisting anything that is illegal.
How can we ever be solvent if people who contribute no taxes are given that which belongs to citizens of this country.

Larry u. verhoff - August 15, 2012

It should be totally limited only to who can prove that they are legal US citizens, and only to the ones who can prove it with a picture, fingerprinted ID card. Larry

Barbara LaRue - August 15, 2012

It is just another welfare scam. If we get to a simpler tax structure and eliminate all credits deductions and let everyone pay their fair share and let people keep more of their money then turn this back to state control then communities and individuals can easily take care of those in need Fed. Gov. needs to butt out

Ron Hub - August 15, 2012

More and more illegals will come because they are patronized and know they can get allotments like this
Why not apply for it if the government will pay? What about those women that have babies just to get the money? $75K is the mark? How can that be considered poverty? Prove eligibility by SSN. No number, no money

Don Etheredge - August 16, 2012

The IRS should be abolished. That would fix their being in the welfare business and a lot of other enterprizes they control. The child tax credit is nothing but income redistribution. All tax credits should be eliminated.

John Saunders - August 17, 2012

Abolish most tax credit/payments.

As in all of these programs, they set out to buy a section of votes. Later they become permanent payments.

The pitfall of any tax system that can be twisted as can ours. Very expensive, Extremely divisive.

Loretta Taylor - August 17, 2012

We see this and other tax credits abused at my Tax Office all the time. One client comes in and owes 10,000.00 and the next person may get that much back in a refund. All from the goverment. WE who pay taxes.There are to many of these credits for people who abuse the system.

Joe Otto - August 21, 2012

NO benifits for illegals. Deport them.

William M Snedden - August 26, 2012

Child Tax Credit is another well intended, ill conceived government plan. Seems like if you had no income you would not have any income tax to take a credit against. This whole thing is rediculous. Other welfare programs do the same thing. The IRS should not be in the welfare business, and should be abolished anyway. ANY welfare benefits for children or anyone else in this country should only be available to US citizens (who have a legitimate Social Security number [E-Verified] including the children).

George P. - May 8, 2013

It makes me angry how ignorant most people are about the immigration subject. All people say they have an opinion on it but they never do their research to find out what’s really going on. I honestly think immigrants should have the opportunity to get the Child Tax Credit because there are so many of immigrants that don’t file income taxes but they still pay all of the other taxes and get nothing back so I don’t understand why people only focus on the part where they are taking advantage of something when in reality they deserve it.

Joy - April 11, 2014

I think it is a shame that hard working people can’t even get a refund back at the end of the year, but people that are illegal rep the benifits

Mari Price - June 17, 2018

IRS Tax Tip 2011-29, February 10, 2011

The Child Tax Credit is an important tax credit that may be worth as much as $1,000 per qualifying child depending upon your income. Here are 10 important facts from the IRS about this credit and how it may benefit your family.

Amount – With the Child Tax Credit, you may be able to reduce your federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child under the age of 17.

Qualification – A qualifying child for this credit is someone who meets the qualifying criteria of six tests: age, relationship, support, dependent, citizenship, and residence.

Age Test – To qualify, a child must have been under age 17 – age 16 or younger – at the end of 2010.

Relationship Test – To claim a child for purposes of the Child Tax Credit, they must either be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister or a descendant of any of these individuals, which includes your grandchild, niece or nephew. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.

Support Test – In order to claim a child for this credit, the child must not have provided more than half of their own support.

Dependent Test – You must claim the child as a dependent on your federal tax return.

Citizenship Test – To meet the citizenship test, the child must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien.

Residence Test – The child must have lived with you for more than half of 2010. There are some exceptions to the residence test, which can be found in IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.

Limitations – The credit is limited if your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount. The amount at which this phase-out begins varies depending on your filing status. For married taxpayers filing a joint return, the phase-out begins at $110,000. For married taxpayers filing a separate return, it begins at $55,000. For all other taxpayers, the phase-out begins at $75,000. In addition, the Child Tax Credit is generally limited by the amount of the income tax you owe as well as any alternative minimum tax you owe.

Additional Child Tax Credit – If the amount of your Child Tax Credit is greater than the amount of income tax you owe, you may be able to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit.

Schedule 8812 (Form 1040A or 1040), Child Tax Credit, and instructions
Publication 972, Child Tax Credit
Form 1040A and instructions
Form 1040 and instructions

georjean foucek - April 1, 2019

I watched a program where they interviewed illegal tax paying immigrants who claimed children who werent documented and didnt reside in the usa
I think illegal immigration should be illegal
There is no documentation done and the interviews of the illegal immigrants substantiated that they deducted children that were not in the USA or that they were not truthful as it was a way of getting income
35 cents of every dollar a citizen of the small coastal town of santa cruz ca goes to illegal immigration benefits

gena foucekl - April 1, 2019

It seems the public sentiment has changed and is not wanting to he heard We should vote on the cities statis
Illegal is Illegal either put it to a vote to change the law or enforce it
Seems as if we have lost sight of the rights of the citizens and especially the people who have taken the legal route to citizenship

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