Federal Lawmakers Propose $3,500 Tax Credit to Direct Care Workers

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Some direct care workers located in opportunity zones may get a tax credit soon if a new proposal is approved. US Rep. John James (R-MI) recently introduced a bill called the Reignite Hope Act, which, if approved, would offer a $3,500 tax credit to direct care workers. Specifically, the bill amends the current IRS tax code to create a credit for employees of critical industries.

Tax credit to direct care workers: who will get it?

Rep. James introduced the Reignite Hope Act (HR 4520) last month to offer a $3,500 tax credit to “critical employees” working at a job site located in opportunity zones. Reps. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR) and Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ) are the co-sponsors of the bill.

HR 4520 lists four categories of qualifying “critical employees” – law enforcement officers, caretakers, first responders and healthcare professionals. To qualify for the tax credit to direct care workers, individuals must work full-time for a minimum of 75% of the taxable year in an opportunity zone.

“These local heroes are the foundation of our society, and the Reignite Hope Act will address the basic needs for these individuals by giving them the tools and resources to improve their lives and conditions,” Rep. James said in a press release.

James’ Reignite Hope Act already enjoys the support of many trade and social organizations. Argentum, a leading national trade association for professionally managed senior living communities, supports the Reignite Hope Act as the bill supports the organization’s efforts to cater to the growing older adult population.

Argentum’s Workforce Projections for Senior Care Report estimates there will be three million job openings in the senior living industry by 2040 and 20 million overall openings in the long term.

Also, the National Center for Assisted Living notes that the bill, if approved, will assist in rebuilding the long-term care workforce by attracting and retaining caregivers.

Another call to make the expanded child tax credit permanent

In addition to the tax credit to direct care workers, the bill also calls for making the expanded child tax credit provided in the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act permanent. Specifically, if approved, the bill would offer up to $4,500 in tax credits per child aged fewer than six years ($3,500 for children aged six or more years).

The expanded child tax credit under the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act expired in December 2021. Since then, several efforts have been made at the federal level to make the expanded child tax credit permanent, but with little success.  

Presently, the federal child tax credit is worth $2,000 per qualifying dependent child if the modified AGI (adjusted gross income) is $400,000 or below for married filing jointly, or $200,000 or below for all other filers. The refundable portio, called the additional child tax credit, is up to $1,600.

If the modified AGI is above the threshold limit, the credit amount is reduced by $50 for each $1,000 of the income above the threshold.