The Upfront Ask: I need help operationalizing data released by the IRS outlining where there are unclaimed Child Tax Credits. They are organized by ZIP code. I would like to assemble dossiers on as many of the ZIP codes, in clusters, as possible, including: demographic information on the area, major media outlets, community leaders and any other potentially useful bits of information that might aid in outreach to communities in those ZIP codes and connecting same with tools to help taxpayers file for and received the CTC (such as GetCTC.org).
The Child Tax Credit (“CTC”)
I wrote at greater length on the Child Tax Credit and its (now expired) expansion here, at Bloomberg Tax.
The CTC is a refundable credit that … well, the IRS says it better than I can:
The Child Tax Credit is a fully refundable tax credit for families with qualifying children. The American Rescue Plan expanded the Child Tax Credit for 2021 to get more help to more families. The credit increased from $2,000 per child in 2020 to $3,600 in 2021 for each child under age 6. Similarly, for each child age 6 to 16, it’s increased from $2,000 to $3,000. It also provides the $3,000 credit for 17-year-olds. Under the American Rescue Plan, the IRS disbursed half of the 2021 Child Tax Credit in monthly payments during the second half of 2021.from: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/tax-year-2021-filing-season-2022-child-tax-credit-frequently-asked-questions-topic-a-2021-child-tax-credit-basics
There are a substantial number of children with social security numbers that have not been claimed for purposes of the CTC — which means there are likely a substantial number of families that are unaware they may qualify for the CTC. That’s where we come in.
The Unclaimed Credits
The ZIP code data released by the IRS is a good starting point for finding where help is most needed, but visuals are useful too.
As you can see, by count they broadly cluster in the major metropolitan areas — as you would expect. Areas with a higher population are going to have more total “unclaimed” CTC credits even if the percentage of children claimed by someone on their tax return remains constant.
The plan, then, is to drill down in to these metropolitan areas and collect potential media outlets and community leaders that can be reached out to for advocacy purposes. The example in the above-linked Bloomberg article is Lakewood, NJ — which counts among its residents many Orthodox Jewish folks. Outreach might then be tailored to the local radio station, WMDI-LP, which is owned by the American Institute for Jewish Education and carries substantial community-interest information for Lakewood.
I’m looking for folks willing to grab a ZIP code, or set of ZIP codes, and begin researching a local outreach plan. The deliverable at that phase would be a memorandum for that region. The next phase would then begin which would be comprised of outreach.
Interested? Awesome! Please fill out this form and I’ll be in touch.