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REIMAGINING TAX ADMINISTRATION:

Social Programs Through the Tax Code

— Seven Online Workshops from 13 September 2021 through 15 November 2021 —

Access the videos & materials below

In the fall of 2021, the Center for Taxpayer Rights held an online workshop series, Reimagining Tax Administration: Social Programs through the Tax Code.  This series of workshops explored the challenges faced by taxpayers and IRS alike when the tax system is used to deliver social benefits to low income and other under-resourced populations.  

In the United States, a focus on taxpayer rights and procedural justice has become more critical as the responsibilities of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) evolve from those of a traditional revenue collection agency to those of an agency with a dual mission – revenue collection and distribution of social benefits.  The expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – one of the largest federal anti-poverty programs for families that reaches about 25 million taxpayers and disburses $62 billion in credits annually – and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), as well as the Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) and Premium Tax Credit, have brought tens of millions of low income taxpayers into the tax system.  Through recent COVID-19 relief measures such as Economic Impact Payments and the refundable and Advance CTC, non-taxpayers have entered  and now must engage with the tax system in order to obtain economic relief. 

At the same time, the IRS is struggling to understand its role as an administrator of social benefits programs and how it must adapt its traditional practices to a new paradigm.  Similarly, the move to digitalize tax interactions and increase “self-service” raises the specter of the digital divide, in which 41 million US taxpayers do not have broadband access in their homes and 14 million do not have any internet access in their homes. 

In this environment, Congress and the Biden Administration have signaled a renewed interest not only in expanding existing credits and making other credits refundable, but also in using the IRS to deliver some of the tax credits on a monthly basis (cf. the six-month Advanced CTC program for 2021 enacted by the American Rescue Plan).  Thus, the use of the IRS to deliver other benefits, such as a universal child benefit, is unlikely to abate. 

 

Do you have suggestions for future online Reimagining Tax Administration Workshop Series? Contact the Center for Taxpayer Rights at info@taxpayer-rights.org.

The Reimagining Tax Administration workshop series is made possible by the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Panel 1: Nuts & Bolts of IRS Processing (09.13.2021)

Moderator: Nina E. Olson, Center for Taxpayer Rights, Washington DC

Panelists:   

Ishmael Alejo, Assistant Director, Return Integrity & Compliance Services, Internal Revenue Service, Atlanta GA

Denise Davis, Director, Return Integrity Verification Program Management, Internal Revenue Service, Atlanta GA

Rob King, Assistant Director, Web Applications Program Management Office, Information Technology, Internal Revenue Service, Washington DC

Panel 2: Characteristics of the EITC/Advance CTC Population (09.27.2021)

Moderator: Professor Leslie Book, Villanova Law School, Villanova PA

Panelists:

Margot Crandall-Hollick, Congressional Research Service, Washington DC     — Slides

Professor Hilary Hoynes, University of California – Berkeley CA       — Slides

Elaine Maag, Tax Policy Center, Washington DC       — Slides

Panel 3: Design Theory & Administrative Burden (10.18.2021)

Moderator: Nina E. Olson, Executive Director, Center for Taxpayer Rights, Washington DC

Panelists: 

Jim Greiner, Access2Justice Lab, Harvard University, Cambridge MA

Professor Pamela Herd, Georgetown University, Washington DC       — Slides

Professor Donald Moynihan, Georgetown University, Washington DC

Emily Schmitt, Office of Planning Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington DC       — Slides

Panel 4: Program Eligibility Rules for Tax & Other Social Benefit Programs (10.25.2021)

Moderator: Margot Crandall-Hollick, Congressional Research Service, Washington DC       — Slides

Panelists:

Elena Fowlkes, Taxpayer Advocate, District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, Washington DC    — Slides

Chye-Ching Huang & Kathleen Bryant, NYU Tax Law Center, New York NY       — Slides

Emily Lin, U.S. Department of Treasury, Washington DC        — Slides

Cathy Livingston, Jones Day, Washington DC       — Slides

Elaine Maag, Tax Policy Center, Washington DC       — Slides

Panel 5: Due Process & Taxpayer Rights in Social Benefit Programs (11.01.2021)

Moderator:  Anna Gooch, Research Fellow, Center for Taxpayer Rights, Philadelphia PA

Panelists:  

Professor Leslie Book, Villanova Law School, Villanova PA       — Slides

Jennifer Burdick, Community Legal Services, Philadelphia PA       — Slides

Professor Manasi Deshpande, University of Chicago, Chicago IL        — Slides

Susan Morgenstern, Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, Internal Revenue Service, Cleveland OH

Panel 6: Organizational Structure & Culture (11.08.2021)

Moderator:  Gabriel Zucker, Code for America, New York NY

Panelists:

Josh Beck, Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, Internal Revenue Service, Des Moines IA       — Slides

Suran de Silva, Principal Product Designer, Code for America, Washington DC      — Slides

Patrick Keenan, Policy Director, Pennsylvania Health Access Network, Philadelphia PA       — Slides

Nina E. Olson, Executive Director, Center for Taxpayer Rights, Washington DC       — Slides

David Weaver, Lecturer in Economics, Catholic University of America, Washington DC; former Associate Commissioner, Social Security Administration       — Slides

Panel 7: Proposals for Change (11.15.2021)

Moderator:  Professor Michelle Drumbl, Washington & Lee University, Lexington VA

Panelists:

Professor Jacob Goldin, Stanford Law School, Stanford CA       — Slides

Anna Gooch, Research Fellow, Center for Taxpayer Rights, Washington DC       — Slides

Cassandra Robertson, Senior Policy & Research Manager, New America,Washington DC       — Slides

Professor Christine Speidel, Villanova University Law School, Villanova PA       — Slides

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