So far, still no budget deal in place to prevent the automatic spending cuts and tax increases that are scheduled to go into effect at the end of this year. We have been hearing about some of the tax deductions, credits and other breaks lawmakers are weighing in this whole budget debate. And it's time for the latest in our 12 Days of Deductions.


GREENE: Today, the Child Tax Credit. It's an important one for families. IRS figures show that taxpayers claimed about $55 billion from this credit in 2010. It first started in the late '90s as a kind of alternative to direct cash payments.

MARK LUSCOMBE: That was really part of the Newt Gingrich Contract With America and the family values push.

GREENE: Mark Luscombe is an analyst at the tax information site CCH. He explains that President George W. Bush then doubled the Child Tax credit, but...

LUSCOMBE: If nothing is done, as a result the fiscal cliff would get cut in half. At the end of the year it would go from a $1,000 credit to a $500 credit.

GREENE: And additional tweaks President Obama made to make this credit available to more low income people will also disappear unless lawmakers take action. Tomorrow, we will explore another family-friendly credit that is set to shrink; that's the Adoption Tax credit.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from