Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Look Inside Tax Credits for the Working Poor

Tax Credits for the Working Poor
A Call for Reform

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


Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

Please email to enquire about an inspection copy of this book

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • 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
    Read more

    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

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Publication planned for: December 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108400206
    • length: 232 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.35kg
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: Not yet published - available from December 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

  • 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.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.