Lawmakers look to expand NYS child tax credit

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – Should New York State offer the same tax credit to parents with a 3-year old child as it does to parents with a 5-year old? Most would probably say yes but an antiquated tax law on the books only allows parents to claim a credit for children over the age of 4.

When it comes to tax time, having kids normally pays off for parents. You get a child tax credit from the federal government, and most get a credit from the state too.

“Right now, families who have children under the age of 4 cannot access a child tax credit for their child, that’s crazy,” said NYS Senator Jeremy Cooney.

No one seems to have a good explanation as to how 4 and under got shut out, but Senator Cooney said he wants to change that.

“We know that brain development happens between zero and four so why would we not be investing in our families with the youngest children so they could be set up for success,” said Cooney.

“It doesn’t matter if you live in a city or a suburb or rural area upstate or downstate families deserve more resources and I think that’s a really important action we can take in the budget to show that children are the priority.”

Right now, the Empire State Child tax credit is one-third of the federal credit per child. Under the American Rescue Plan, the overall amount of the federal credit increased for 2021.

“That (federal) program, in general, did receive a lot of attention over the last 12 months, but it also, at the New York state level, helped to shine a spotlight again on what many people feel is a gap in this area,” explains Jim Schnell, a CPA and Partner at Mengel Metzger Barr & Co.

A bill to extend the credit to children under the age of 4 is currently part of the budget negotiations.