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Look Inside Tax Credits for the Working Poor

Tax Credits for the Working Poor
A Call for Reform

  • Publication planned for: September 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from September 2019
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108400206

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  • The United States introduced the earned income tax credit (EITC) in 1975, where it remains the most significant earnings-based refundable credit in the Internal Revenue Code. While the United States was the first country to use its domestic revenue system to deliver and administer social welfare benefits to lower-income individuals or families, a number of other countries, including New Zealand and Canada, have experimented with or incorporated similar credits into their tax systems. In this work, Michelle Lyon Drumbl, drawing on her extensive advocacy experience representing low-income taxpayers in EITC audits, analyzes the effectiveness of the EITC in the United States and offers suggestions for how it can be improved. This timely book should be read by anyone interested in how the EITC can be reimagined to better serve the working poor and, more generally, whether the tax system can promote social justice.

    • Presents perspective of individuals for whom the system is not working well
    • Proposes alternatives that draw from other systems, introducing readers to case studies from other systems
    • Draws upon the work of sociologists, economists, and social psychologists to appeal to readers both in and outside of the discipline of law
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'From the unique lens of a tax justice warrior working on the frontlines fighting poverty, Michelle Lyon Drumbl details the troubled history of US refundable tax credits and compares similar international programs to reimagine relief for America's vulnerable working families. A must read for anyone engaged in critical rethinking of economic justice policies.' Francine J. Lipman, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

    'Michelle Lyon Drumbl draws on a wide range of resources – including the history of the EITC, studies about its impact, the experience of other countries with similar programs, and her years representing taxpayers in EITC disputes with the IRS – in making a number of thoughtful proposals for improving the design and administration of the EITC. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of federal antipoverty policy in the United States.' Lawrence Zelenak, Duke University, North Carolina, and author of Learning to Love Form 1040: Two Cheers for the Return-Based Mass Income Tax

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: September 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108400206
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.35kg
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: Not yet published - available from September 2019
  • Table of Contents

    Preface and acknowledgments
    List of abbreviations
    Introduction: rethinking the earned income tax credit
    1. A history of the EITC: how it began and what it has become
    2. Why the United States uses lump-sum delivery
    3. How inexpensive administration creates expensive challenges
    4. Importing ideas: case studies in design and administrability
    5. Reimagining the credit: why and how to restructure the EITC
    6. Making a case for year-round EITC delivery
    7. Protecting the anti-poverty element
    8. Beyond EITC delivery and administration: how the United States addresses poverty
    Index.

  • Author

    Michelle Lyon Drumbl, Washington and Lee University, Virginia
    Michelle Lyon Drumbl is Clinical Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University, Virginia and previously an attorney in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel. Her scholarship focuses on low-income taxpayers and fiscal policy. Her article examining earned income tax credit noncompliance, 'Beyond Polemics: Poverty, Taxes, and Noncompliance', was awarded the Cedric Sandford Medal for best paper at the 12th International Conference on Tax Administration in Sydney.

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