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  • Individual Author: Falk, Gene; Gabe, Thomas; Bradley, David H.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    This report focuses on the impact of minimum wage and tax-transfer earnings supplements for workers of different family types. It does so through illustrating how the minimum wage and federal tax-transfer policies affect the income of a minimum wage worker who works full-time, full-year in four different family types: a single childless worker; a worker supporting a married couple; a single mother with two children; and a married couple with two children. These family types are chosen to highlight the different treatment federal tax-transfer policies have on workers of different family types. They were not chosen as representative of most minimum wage workers. The illustrations show the impact of policies on two childless workers—one married, one not. They also show the impact of two workers with children—one married, one not. The report highlights how policies differ between families with children, and families without children. This report supplements these illustrations with some background on policies, as well as some policy considerations that apply generally to debates on...

    This report focuses on the impact of minimum wage and tax-transfer earnings supplements for workers of different family types. It does so through illustrating how the minimum wage and federal tax-transfer policies affect the income of a minimum wage worker who works full-time, full-year in four different family types: a single childless worker; a worker supporting a married couple; a single mother with two children; and a married couple with two children. These family types are chosen to highlight the different treatment federal tax-transfer policies have on workers of different family types. They were not chosen as representative of most minimum wage workers. The illustrations show the impact of policies on two childless workers—one married, one not. They also show the impact of two workers with children—one married, one not. The report highlights how policies differ between families with children, and families without children. This report supplements these illustrations with some background on policies, as well as some policy considerations that apply generally to debates on the minimum wage and tax-transfer policies.

    Full-year, full-time work at the minimum wage is not common. In 2012, 32% of workers earning the minimum wage worked full-time. Again, the illustrations were not chosen to be representative of most minimum wage workers. Full-time, full-year work was chosen for illustrative purposes. Additionally, the income produced by full-time, full year work at the minimum wage is an important policy benchmark, as it reflects the federally-determined minimum income for someone with full-time involvement in the labor force. This report:

    • describes current law minimum wage and tax-transfer earnings supplement policies;

    • provides the illustrations of gross earnings and net income (after taxes and SNAP benefits) for full-time full-year minimum wage workers at both the current minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) and the proposed $10.10 minimum wage; and

    • discusses some of the policy implications of addressing poverty through both the minimum wage and federally-funded earnings supplements.

    (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Jones, Maggie; O'Hara, Amy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    This paper examines a method of tax avoidance not previously studied: the sorting of dependent children among related filers who have “doubled up” in a household for economic reasons. Using the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) linked with 1040 data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), we examine households with children and at least two adult tax filers to determine whether the household minimizes income tax burden, and thus maximizes refunds, by optimally claiming dependents. We examine specifically the relationship between the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the sorting of dependent children among filers in households. We find the following: The propensity to sort increases as the number of filers who are potentially eligible for the EITC increases; sorting probability increases as the optimal household EITC amount increases; and among households with at least one EITC-eligible filer, the propensity to sort increases as the difference between modeled household EITC amount and the optimal amount increases. We...

    This paper examines a method of tax avoidance not previously studied: the sorting of dependent children among related filers who have “doubled up” in a household for economic reasons. Using the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) linked with 1040 data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), we examine households with children and at least two adult tax filers to determine whether the household minimizes income tax burden, and thus maximizes refunds, by optimally claiming dependents. We examine specifically the relationship between the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the sorting of dependent children among filers in households. We find the following: The propensity to sort increases as the number of filers who are potentially eligible for the EITC increases; sorting probability increases as the optimal household EITC amount increases; and among households with at least one EITC-eligible filer, the propensity to sort increases as the difference between modeled household EITC amount and the optimal amount increases. We also exploit the 2009 change in EITC benefit for families with three or more children, finding that the propensity to sort to exactly three children increased among EITC-eligible filers after the rule change. The results of this analysis improve our understanding of filing behavior, particularly how households form filing units and pool resources, and have implications for poverty measurement in complex households. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ackerman, Deena; Holtzblatt, Janet; Masken, Karen
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2009

    The earned income tax credit (EITC) was enacted nearly 35 years ago. One goal of the EITC is to encourage people to work, while another is to lift families out of poverty. Yet little is known about the long-term effects of the credit on recipients due to data limitations.1 This paper introduces a new data set that contains the tax records of over 60 million individuals who claimed or received the EITC between 2000 and 2006. The panel follows those individuals over the 7-year period and should provide new insight into how people respond to the credit over time. This paper is largely descriptive, laying the foundation for future research that could explore some of the long-term effects of the EITC. Using the new panel data set, we examine how the incidence and duration of EITC receipt change over time and the reasons for those changes— focusing particularly on the impact of changes in family structure and income over the period. (author abstract)

    The earned income tax credit (EITC) was enacted nearly 35 years ago. One goal of the EITC is to encourage people to work, while another is to lift families out of poverty. Yet little is known about the long-term effects of the credit on recipients due to data limitations.1 This paper introduces a new data set that contains the tax records of over 60 million individuals who claimed or received the EITC between 2000 and 2006. The panel follows those individuals over the 7-year period and should provide new insight into how people respond to the credit over time. This paper is largely descriptive, laying the foundation for future research that could explore some of the long-term effects of the EITC. Using the new panel data set, we examine how the incidence and duration of EITC receipt change over time and the reasons for those changes— focusing particularly on the impact of changes in family structure and income over the period. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Scott, Christine
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC or EIC) began in 1975 as a temporary program to return a portion of the Social Security taxes paid by lower income taxpayers, and was made permanent in 1978. In the 1990s, the program became a
    major component of federal efforts to reduce poverty, and is now the largest antipoverty entitlement program. Childless adults in 2004 received an average EITC of $218, families with one child received an average EITC of $1,728, and families with two or more children received an average EITC of $2,669. A low-income worker must file an annual income tax return to receive the EITC and meet certain requirements for income and age. A tax filer cannot be a dependent of another tax filer and must be a resident of the United States unless overseas because of military duty. The EITC is based on income and whether the tax filer has a qualifying child.
    
    The EITC interacts with several nonrefundable federal tax credits to the extent lower income workers can utilize the credits to reduce tax liability before the EITC....

    The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC or EIC) began in 1975 as a temporary program to return a portion of the Social Security taxes paid by lower income taxpayers, and was made permanent in 1978. In the 1990s, the program became a
    major component of federal efforts to reduce poverty, and is now the largest antipoverty entitlement program. Childless adults in 2004 received an average EITC of $218, families with one child received an average EITC of $1,728, and families with two or more children received an average EITC of $2,669. A low-income worker must file an annual income tax return to receive the EITC and meet certain requirements for income and age. A tax filer cannot be a dependent of another tax filer and must be a resident of the United States unless overseas because of military duty. The EITC is based on income and whether the tax filer has a qualifying child.
    
    The EITC interacts with several nonrefundable federal tax credits to the extent lower income workers can utilize the credits to reduce tax liability before the EITC. Income from the credit is not used to determine eligibility or benefits for means tested programs. However, 18 states and the District of Columbia now offer an EITC for state taxes, and most of them are based on the federal EITC. Any change in the federal EITC would flow down to impact the state EITC. Policy issues for the EITC, which reflect either the structure, impact, or administration of the credit include the work incentive effects of the credit; the marriage penalty for couples filing joint tax returns; the anti-poverty effectiveness of the credit (primarily a family size issue); and potential abuse (i.e., compliance with credit law and regulations). The National Taxpayer Advocate heads an independent program within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to handle taxpayer problems not resolved through normal channels, and to identify issues that create problems for taxpayers. As part of identifying problems for taxpayers, the National Taxpayer Advocate prepares a report each year to Congress summarizing at least 20 of the most serious problems faced by taxpayers with recommendations to resolve the problems. In the reports for 2002 through 2005, EITC related problems have been included among the “most serious problems.” In the 2006 report, while the EITC was not listed as a specific problem, concerns about the EITC and low-income taxpayers are components of some of the “more serious problems.” This report will be updated annually. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: The Council of Economic Advisers
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    The strongest labor market in a generation has resulted in particularly large gains among low-wage and disadvantaged workers. From 1979 to 1993, the real wages of low-wage workers fell sharply. Recently, however, low-wage workers have experienced large increases in real wages: For low-wage men, wages are up since 1996 by 5.7 percent after inflation. And for low-wage women, real wages have risen 6.1 percent.

    These strong wage gains have been accompanied by a steep decline in unemployment for low-skilled workers. In 1993, 11.1 percent of workers without a high school degree were unemployed; today that rate has fallen to 7.2 percent. Among high school graduates (with no college), the rate has fallen from 6.6 to 3.9 percent. Low-wage workers are thus gaining both by working more and by earning more for every hour that they work.

    The effects of a strong economy have been reinforced by successful policies designed to make work pay. Expansions in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) since 1993 are supplementing the incomes of low-wage working parents. The EITC is one of our...

    The strongest labor market in a generation has resulted in particularly large gains among low-wage and disadvantaged workers. From 1979 to 1993, the real wages of low-wage workers fell sharply. Recently, however, low-wage workers have experienced large increases in real wages: For low-wage men, wages are up since 1996 by 5.7 percent after inflation. And for low-wage women, real wages have risen 6.1 percent.

    These strong wage gains have been accompanied by a steep decline in unemployment for low-skilled workers. In 1993, 11.1 percent of workers without a high school degree were unemployed; today that rate has fallen to 7.2 percent. Among high school graduates (with no college), the rate has fallen from 6.6 to 3.9 percent. Low-wage workers are thus gaining both by working more and by earning more for every hour that they work.

    The effects of a strong economy have been reinforced by successful policies designed to make work pay. Expansions in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) since 1993 are supplementing the incomes of low-wage working parents. The EITC is one of our most successful programs for fighting poverty and encouraging work:

    • Lifts more than 4 million Americans out of poverty. The EITC lifted 4.3 million Americans out of poverty in 1997 -- more than double the number in 1993.
    • Dramatically reduces child poverty. In 1997, the EITC reduced the number of children living in poverty by 2.2 million. This report finds that over half of the decline in child poverty between 1993 and 1997 can be explained by changes in taxes, most importantly the EITC.
    • Encourages work among single women with children. In 1992, 73.7 percent of single women with children were in the labor force. In 1997, 84.2 percent of such women were in the labor force. The percentage of single women with children who received welfare and did not work has been cut by more than half -- from 19.3 percent in 1992 to 8.3 percent in 1997.[Based on CPS tabs by Liebman.] Research studies suggest that the increase in labor force participation among single mothers is strongly linked to the expansion in the EITC.

    Increases in the minimum wage have been important in raising the earnings of low-wage workers. Empirical research suggests that recent minimum wage increases have had little or no adverse effect on employment.

    The combined effects of the minimum wage and the EITC have dramatically increased the returns to work for families with children. Between 1993 and 1997, families with one child and one earner who worked full-time at the minimum wage (i.e., $4.72 in 1993 and $5.15 in 1997, in 1997 dollars) experienced a 14 percent -- $1,402 -- increase in their income, after inflation, just because of these two policies alone. Similar families with two children experienced a 27 percent -- $2,761 -- increase in their income. (author abstract)