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IRS sends last expanded child tax credit checks

IRS sends last expanded child tax credit checks
President Joe Biden's social spending bill could extend the child tax credit payments, but it may not pass Congress before the end of the year. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The IRS on Wednesday is sending out what could be the last child tax credit checks, started in July under the federal government's pandemic relief programs.

The $300-per-child checks have helped millions of working families make ends meet, economists say.

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When the payments end, millions of kids could be thrown back into poverty, according to an analysis by the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The IRS has made more than $16 billion in child tax credit payments under the expansion. The sixth payment on Wednesday will be the last unless Congress acts to continue the expanded credit.

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An extension could be included in the Build Back Better Act. But for payments to seamlessly continue into next year, that bill would have to pass by Dec. 28, according to the IRS.

President Joe Biden said Wednesday it's possible for the bill to pass by the end of the year, but "it's going to be close."

Direct cash payments from the government have helped many millions of American families get through the pandemic without economic catastrophe.

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In September, 448 economists signed an open letter to Congress arguing that expanding the child tax credit could dramatically improve the lives of millions of children while simultaneously promoting long-term economic prosperity in the United States.

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An Urban Institute analysis found that extending the credit through 2025 would cut U.S. child poverty by 40 percent.

Stanford Law School assistant professor Jacob Goldin told CNBC in September that it's rare for so many economists to agree on something, but there's strong evidence that this financial boost generates big benefits for kids.

RELATED Biden: 'Historic' child tax credit payments could lift families out of poverty

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