Tax Policy

Connecting Tax Time to Financial Security

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • Elliot Schreur,
  • New America Foundation
February 25, 2014
The ability to accumulate and access savings is a fundamental determinant of economic security for many families, especially those with low incomes and limited resources. Since every family’s circumstance is different, so too are their savings needs, which can range both in time horizon and flexibility of purpose. Current federal policy favors longer-term, targeted purposes, such as savings for retirement, leaving a void in policy supports for households whose savings needs are more immediate.

Can Tax Policy Live Up to Its New Role in the Fight Against Poverty?

January 28, 2014
Publication Image Last, week, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center hosted a half-day event on the role tax policy has played in efforts to fight poverty since the declaration of the War on Poverty. The panelists agreed that the role of tax policy has changed drastically since the 1960s. The trend is clear: tax policy is making up a greater share of anti-poverty programs compared to direct spending programs. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, for example, are now among the biggest anti-poverty programs in terms of cost to the federal government.

New Paper: Building Assets Through Free Tax Prep

November 22, 2013
Publication Image For millions of struggling American families, filing taxes has become associated with more than just a pile of annoying paperwork. Tax time represents a significant opportunity to build financial security through income supports like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Across the country, service-group coalitions coordinate volunteers at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, sites dedicated to making sure that those struggling families get the most out of the tax time moment.

Ohio’s Tax Time Coalition

  • By
  • David Rothstein,
  • New America Foundation
November 22, 2013
Throughout the country, a network of over 4,300 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites helps over 1.2 million low-income taxpayers file their taxes for free each year. Organized through IRS grants, the sites not only help low-income Americans file their taxes, but also to take advantage of important tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For more than six years, the Ohio Tax Time Coalition (formerly the Franklin County EITC Coalition) has served the Columbus metro area as one of these sites.

Guest Post: How Asset Tests Punish the Poor

November 19, 2013
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Editor's Note: This guest post is by Benjamin Landy, a Policy Associate at The Century Foundation. The article originally appeared on

Last week, national media reported on the story of a formerly homeless New Jersey man whose honesty, after finding and turning in $850 he found on the street, turned him into a local celebrity but cost him his welfare and Medicaid benefits.

Upcoming Webinar: How the Federal Tax Code is Driving Inequity And What You Can Do About It

October 21, 2013

The Asset Building Program is a co-sponsor for an upcoming webinar (coordinated by Asset Funders Network and PolicyLink) on November 7th regarding the relationship between inequity and current tax policy. Check out the description below and register to attend here. You can also check out our recent paper on this issue: Personal Savings and Tax Reform.

The primary purpose of the U.S. tax system is to generate public revenue, but it also serves as a vehicle to advance public policy goals. For example, the tax code includes provisions that incentivize taxpayers to take certain action – like buying a home, or saving for higher education or retirement – by providing them with tax credits, deductions, exclusions, and preferential rates. These tax benefits reduce government revenues, disproportionately benefit wealthier households, and provide limited benefits for low- and moderate-income families and households of color.

Deliberations about reforming the federal tax code – including discussions about the cost and benefits of various tax expenditures – are underway in Congress. These discussions provide a unique window of opportunity for advocates to call for a more inclusive, progressive, and equitable tax code – one that provides fair benefits to all U.S. households. 

Tax Reform and Asset Building

September 25, 2013

On September 12th, 2013, Elliot Schreur presented "Tax Reform and Asset Building" to the 2013 National Community Tax Coalition conference.

You can find a copy of the presentation here.


Behavioral Insights into Tax Time Savings from CSD’s Tax Filing Experiment

September 20, 2013
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As I mentioned yesterday on the blog, the findings shared in Krista Holub’s presentation at the National Community Tax Coalition’s 2013 conference have the potential to reshape the way we think about tax-time savings.

Lessons on Tax-Time Savings from the 2013 NCTC National Conference

September 19, 2013
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Last week, the National Community Tax Coalition (NCTC) held its biannual conference featuring experts and practitioners from a variety of fields who shared their insights into the ways taxes affect the lives of low- and middle-income Americans. One of the many themes running through the conference was the attendees’ shared goal of expanding savings at tax time.

Abbreviated Asset Building News Week, August 5-9

August 9, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is in recess this week. In its absence, here are a few resources and news stories from this week that are worth checking out.

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