DEPARTMENT of Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig on Friday said the first batch of monthly checks for the increased child tax credits may be distributed by the end of this week, adding that distribution will continue until the end of the year.
He said that he anticipates that roughly over 10,000 families are qualified for these credits.
In the past, the department had distributed about $12 million to $14 million annually in normal child tax credits, Atalig said.
With the increased child tax credits, however, he anticipates these figures to rise to about $20 million annually.
This means that based on figures from 2019 tax return data, about $10 million in monthly installments will be available for distribution for the rest of the calendar year.
These figures are projected to increase as it is anticipated that people will be adding dependents — such as children born between January 1, 2021 and today — onto their tax returns via an online portal.
The finance chief said that there is no cap for these credits, adding that the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of the Treasury will pay out the exact amount that is needed when CNMI provides proof of the need for the requested benefits.
The CNMI has yet to receive the funding for these credits though, he added.
“Once the funds are transmitted to us, we have the ‘green light’ to send out the checks,” he said.
The Division of Revenue and Taxation has been preparing for the distribution of these benefits and is ready to go as soon as the funds are received, he added.
Atalig asked that the community be patient, as the CNMI awaits to receive these funds.
“It is not in my control in terms of when we receive the funds, but as soon as we receive the funds, I ensure that the checks will go out to these households that benefit from the advanced child tax credit law,” he said.
The CNMI expenditure plan for these credits was approved by the federal administration last week on Tuesday, Aug. 17.
Upon its approval, U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan said, “This is very good news for families in the Marianas. Although we do not have exact information about how the Commonwealth government plans to distribute the new, increased child tax credit, we do know what the law says and how much families can expect to receive. Especially now, at the start of school when [there] are always extra expenses for parents, the increased child tax credit will be welcome.”
The American Rescue Plan contains the largest child tax credit ever passed for families, providing increased child tax credits for a year.
The credit goes from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children ages six through seventeen.
For children under age six, the credit is raised from $2,000 to $3,600.
Any family with two working parents and an income below $150,000 is eligible for the full credit.
Single working parents earning up to $112,500 are also eligible for the full credit.
Families with no tax liability still qualify for this assistance.
Under the ARPA, child tax credits are fully refundable, as long as parents/guardians file their income tax return.