Author Archive

The “Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act” Would Help, but Doesn’t Solve the Timing Mismatch

The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) does not work for low-income families. It fails on three counts – the credit is nonrefundable, covers only a portion of expenses, and comes long after expenses have been incurred. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY) have proposed the […]

Misguided Expansion of the Child Tax Credit

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KN) wants to expand the child tax credit (CTC) with the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014. She’s on the right track, but her proposed expansions are ill-targeted and fail to address the credit’s biggest looming issue: the change in refundability that will hit the poorest recipients after 2017. Jenkins’s plan […]

The Many Moving Parts of Camp’s Tax Reform for Low-Income Families

House Ways & Means Committee Chair Dave Camp’s tax reform plan would make many changes to the two major refundable tax credits aimed at assisting low- and moderate-income working families—the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).  It isn’t easy to keep track of all the moving parts, but it appears […]

Questions About Expanding the Childless EITC

As the idea of expanding the “childless EITC” gathers steam, it’s time to start thinking about what the next generation of worker credits should look like. Today’s EITC lifts millions of families out of poverty each year by providing a wage subsidy that encourages work. But it largely skips over childless adults. Politicians from President […]

How Rubio’s Anti-Poverty Plan Could Help Improve Aid to Low-Income Workers

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has offered the outlines of an ambitious plan that he says would end poverty. One creative piece: Replace the well-known and highly effective earned income tax credit (EITC) with a monthly “federal wage enhancement” for all individuals with qualifying low-wage jobs. It is a bold idea. The EITC, along with the […]

Analyzing Taxes and Transfers Together

Government redistributes income through tax and spending programs. Nearly everyone pays some tax – be it federal or state income taxes, payroll taxes, or sales taxes. The tax system also affects people by delivering a host of benefits through tax expenditures (subsidies like the mortgage interest deduction or the child tax credit).   And broad spending […]

Senator Lee’s New Reform Plan Focuses on Young Children

At an AEI panel discussion earlier this week, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) unveiled the Family Fairness and Opportunity Tax Reform Act. The centerpiece is an additional $2,500 tax credit for all children under age 17. The plan retains the $1,000 child tax credit under current law. Unlike the current credit, the new credit would not […]

Simplifying Child Care Tax Benefits

Every year at tax time I am reminded of two tax benefits that subsidize my children’s child care – the employer-provided child care exclusion and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC). Families with sufficient expenses can benefit from both provisions. Congress could simplify these child care benefits by harmonizing the maximum allowable expenses for […]

Education Tax Credits Rival Pell Grant Program in Size: Reforms Proposed

Tax-based aid for higher education quadrupled between 2000 and 2010 and will continue to be a large part of the financial aid story – at least through 2017 when the American Opportunity Tax Credit is scheduled to expire. As part of a series of reports on federal financial aid, the Center for Law and Social […]

The Immigration Debate: Another Reason We Ought to Separate Work and Family Credits

In the realm of needless complexity, the work and family tax credits for low-income households rank near the top. The problem is especially challenging for immigrant families whose children’s legal status and residency determine eligibility for these credits. A few weeks ago, the National Taxpayer Advocate in her Annual Report to Congress joined many others […]