The Child Tax Credit (CTC) saw two major expansions in the last decade. In 2017, Congress combined two existing child-related tax benefits–the dependent exemption and the Child Tax Credit–into one expanded and more generous CTC worth up to $2,000 per child. In 2021, Congress temporarily expanded the CTC by eliminating the phase-in and increasing the credit amount to $3,000 for older children and $3,600 for younger children.

While both expansions were steps in the right direction, they represent two distinct approaches to American public policy. The first is focused on rationalizing or streamlining our complex system of child-related tax benefits, while the second is focused on increasing the generosity of child-related tax benefits. American families would benefit from reforms that do both.

Our existing maze of family tax benefits — including the CTC, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), and head of household (HoH) filing status — has several structural deficiencies that make overhauling the system an option for any effort to boost support for families with children. We discuss several options for expanding and streamlining family tax benefits to address these issues. 

Event Recording


Krista Holub
Strategic Research Program Manager at Intuit (Moderator)

Joshua McCabe
Director of Social Policy at the Niskanen Center

Rachel Snyderman
Director of Economic Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center

Margot Crandall-Hollick
Principal Research Associate at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center