Refundable tax credits are powerful tools for advancing economic security and opportunity, reducing poverty, and improving the lives of families in need. Despite their successes, these tax credits are limited by a key misalignment: unaffordable living expenses, unstable pay, and persistent hardship are experienced consistently or unpredictably throughout the year, unlike the single annual tax credit disbursement. This report provides a framework for policymakers and advocates seeking to create periodic payment options that align tax credit disbursement timing to need and advance economic, racial, and gender equity. The report also outlines specific periodic payment design recommendations for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, including flexible disbursement options.
Using Tax Based Policies to Support Workers & Families During The COVID-19 Recession: The Urgent Need for Additional Measures
The COVID-19 pandemic and recession have wrought unprecedented hardship for families with low incomes, particularly Black and Brown families. The federal government alone can and must spend more to help families weather the crisis, emphasized Indi Dutta-Gupta, in his testimony before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means. He highlighted the key role tax policy, particularly cash transfers and refundable tax credits, can play in supporting families. With its ability to reach tens of millions of households with speed and efficiency, the tax system can play a vital role in delivering immediate assistance and jumpstarting a lasting economy.
A Tax Code for the Rest of Us: A Framework & Recommendations for Advancing Gender & Racial Equity Through Tax Credits
This report, published jointly with the National Women’s Law Center, offers a new vision for a tax code that works for women, people of color, and low- and moderate-income families. Centuries of racist, sexist policy choices and discrimination have created significant barriers for women and people of color to build the kind of wealth our tax code now rewards. At the same time, insufficient tax revenues—exacerbated by tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations—constrain budgets for programs that help people afford their basic needs. The paper proposes a framework to help policymakers, advocates, and the public evaluate when and how refundable tax credits can advance equity, economic mobility, and opportunity for all.
As the debate in Washington turns to tax reform, improvements to the earned income tax credit (EITC) is one of the policy options that can help bring together both sides of the aisle.