With the start of tax season, low-income families raising young children in Oregon now have access to a new tax credit that can help them make ends meet. Eligible families can claim the Oregon Kids’ Credit, worth up to $1,000 per qualifying child, by filing a tax return.
Established by the Oregon legislature last year, the Oregon Kids’ Credit is available for families making no more than $30,000 a year and raising a child under six years old. A family can claim the tax credit for every child that meets the age requirement, up to five children.
“This tax credit is designed to help the most vulnerable families in our state stay afloat, providing extra cash needed to raise their kids,” said Tyler Mac Innis, a Policy Analyst with the Oregon Center for Public Policy. “But to get the credit, families need to file a tax return.”
The Oregon Kids’ Credit received near unanimous support in the legislature on its way to becoming law. Despite the contentious legislative session that included a weeks-long walkout by Senate Republicans, the Oregon Kids’ Credit made it out of the House with a 51-1 vote, and out of the Senate with a 24-1 vote.
“The enactment of the Oregon Kids’ Credit demonstrates that we can come together to improve the lives of Oregonians,” said Representative Andrea Valderrama (HD-47, Outer East Portland), a chief sponsor of the legislation. “These additional resources will help improve the lives of children in my district and all across the state, now and into the future.”
Nearly 55,000 children across the state stand to benefit from the Oregon Kids’ Credit, disproportionately children in rural communities, according to the Oregon Center for Public Policy. (A table below shows the estimated number of eligible children in each county.)
But as with any tax credit, claiming the Oregon Kids’ Credit requires filing a tax return. The deadline for filing is April 15.
For families struggling to get by on low wages, the benefits of filing a tax return can go well beyond getting the Oregon Kids’ Credit. These families also likely qualify for the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit, as well the Working Family Household and Dependent Care credit, Mac Innis said.
Families needing help filling a tax return may be able to access free tax preparation services. Those can be found by visiting a resource page prepared by the Oregon Department of Revenue, or by calling 2-1-1.
“The more eligible families get the Oregon Kids’ Credit, the more secure and healthy they and their children will be. That makes the whole state better off,” Mac Innis said. “It’s in all of our interest to ensure that eligible families claim the Oregon Kids’ Credit.”