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Social Programs Through the Tax Code

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

Registration Now Open for Online Workshop Series!

The Center for Taxpayer Rights is pleased to invite you to attend its upcoming online workshop series, Reimagining Tax Administration: Social Programs through the Tax Code.  This series of workshops will explore 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 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. 

The first workshop, Nuts and Bolts of IRS Return Processing, will be held on Monday, 13 September 2021 from 10 am to noon EDT.  Our panelists are IRS senior leaders and program managers who will walk attendees through the flow of tax return processing, including fraud and error detection filters, and the process for correcting these issues and the downstream functions that handle such returns, including identity theft, automated questionable refunds, and wage verification functions.  The goal of the workshop is to provide a common understanding of the technological and staffing constraints and requirements of current IRS processing and lay the groundwork for future recommendations.

Questions about the online Workshop Series? Contact the Center for Taxpayer Rights at

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

Conference Venue:

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Reimagining Tax Administration Workshops will be held online only.  Registrants will be sent links to each online session during the week before each session.

No press will be in attendance at the sessions.  However, we will be recording the sessions and we will make available recordings of each workshop to registrants who may miss a workshop.  By registering for the workshop, you understand that recordings may be captured during this event and you consent to the Center’s reuse  of any recording  for posting to the Center’s website.

Register Here:

Attendance at the online workshops is by invitation only; if there are others in your organization who wish to attend, please share this invitation with them.  Individuals outside your organization should email to request an invitation.

Reimagining Tax Administration

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