Pressley, Porter, Beyer Introduce Bill to Strike Single Parent Penalty from Tax Code

May 13, 2021
Press Release
Legislation Would Build on Expanded Child Tax Credit, Give More Help to Single Parent Families

Bill Summary (PDF)

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) and Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08) introduced legislation to make it easier for families headed by single parents to get help from the expanded child tax credit. The Single Parent Penalty Elimination Act would change the income threshold for Americans filing as heads of household—the status most commonly used by single parents—so that it is the same as those who are married filing jointly.

“Nearly half of all households with children in the Massachusetts 7th are single-parent households, and with millions out of work due to COVID-19, our single parents need all the help they can get,” said Rep. Pressley. “My bill with Rep. Porter would fix our antiquated tax code to make it easier for single parents to access the critical relief they need to survive this crisis. This is a racial, gender, and economic justice issue.”

“No child should receive less nutritious food or less secure housing just because their parent isn’t married,” said Porter, a single mom of three school-age kids. “There’s no discount for single parents at grocery stores, child care centers, or doctors’ offices, yet the child tax credit gives less help to single parent families. I’m proud to introduce legislation today that would eliminate this unfair penalty and give relief to kids in need, regardless of their parents’ marital status.”

“The Child Tax Credit provides an invaluable lifeline to families across America, but single parents, whose jobs are hard enough already, oftentimes receive less of the credit than married couples,” said Rep. Beyer. “Our bill recognizes that single parents are just as deserving of the full credit as married couples, and would bring more fairness to the tax code.”

The child tax credit was created to offset the costs of raising a child by putting more money in families’ pockets. Under current law, eligibility for the child tax credit begins to phase out at $150,000 annual income for married couples and $112,500 annual income for single parents. The lawmakers’ legislation would raise the income threshold to $150,000, regardless of whether a taxpayer is filing jointly or as a head of household.

53 members of the House of Representatives joined as original cosponsors of the legislation, which is also endorsed by the Asset Funders Network, California Association of Food Banks, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Economic Security Project Action, Family Equality, Family Story, Finding Common Purpose, Golden State Opportunity, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, National Council of Jewish Women, Mom Congress, National Crittenton Foundation, National Partnership for Women and Families, National WIC Association, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, ParentsTogether Action, Universal Income Project, and 2020 Mom.

More information on the single parent penalty can be found HERE.

Congresswoman Pressley, who was raised by a single mom, has been a staunch advocate for parents and families during her time in Congress.

She has consistently led efforts in Congress to extend and expand emergency paid leave protections, including by introducing the PAID Leave Act (Providing Americans Insured Days of Leave Act), a comprehensive emergency paid sick, paid family and medical leave bill to provide additional financial support to our nation’s most vulnerable workers and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and future public health emergencies.

She has also advocated for increased funding for child care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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