Any person who is a parent is well aware of both parental joys and frustrations. One frustration for MANY parents is money. Let’s face it, kids are expensive. Most parents don’t spend a lot of time ruminating on that fact; it just is. These worries go doubly for single parents, and especially for single non-custodial dads who financially support their children. Everyone loves their children, everyone dislikes child support. And everyone knows that people that pay child support get killed on taxes – the supportee gets child support cash and all of the numerous child tax credits, and the supporter gets… well, nothing, really, except taxed to death.
Glen Sacks has posted, though, an interesting story by Tracie McMillian about how New York officials are addressing this issue by offering lower-income child support obligors who are current with their child support payments an earned income tax credit.
New state programs aim to support dads doing the right thing. A new tax break will be available come April for lower-income parents responsible for child support, making it the first of its kind in the country. State officials are
launching an earned income tax credit (EITC) for noncustodial parents who are current with their child support payments, offering up to $1,600 a year in a refundable credit.
“What we’re trying to do is work on the success of welfare reform, where we saw single moms move off the rolls. But we have not seen the same movement among young men,” said Michael Hayes, spokesperson for the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), which will administer the program.
The payment is intended to help low-income, noncustodial parents – at least 90 percent of whom are fathers – maintain steady employment and keep up on child support, as well as maintain active roles in their children’s’ lives. The new credit will be available to parents who are not their children’s primary
caretakers and earn as much as $32,000. That’s a considerably higher income
limit than the traditional EITC, which cuts off eligibility for single adults
earning up to $11,750 – and offers only about $500 a year. Officials expect
about 74,000 people to qualify statewide, including 22,000 in New York City, and estimate the first year will cost $18 million.
One has to think that this is a step in the right direction for state and local governments. By creating an incentive for fathers to properly support their children, they help children, who have the financial support that they need for necessities, mothers, who they can keep from using valuable state or local resources that both parents should be providing for their children anyway, and fathers, who most of the time bear the financial brunt of child-rearing. Win, win, win. It’s an idea that you have to like.