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Tax Policy

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.

Asset Building News Week, July 29-August 2

August 2, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include savings and taxes, poverty, public benefits, homeownership and housing, and student debt.

Asset Building News Week, July 22-26

July 26, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include tax reform, inequality, and public assistance.

Congressman Serrano Announces Intention to Introduce Financial Security Credit in House

July 25, 2013
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On Monday we released our paper “Personal Savings and Tax Reform: Principles and Policy Proposals for Reforming the Tax Code,” which included our proposal for a flexible, accessible Financial Security Credit for ordinary families. On Wednesday, Congressman José Serrano (D-NY-15) sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to the House of Representatives announcing his intention to introduce the Financial Security Credit in legislative form. In the letter, Congressman Serrano said:

Currently, many American households are unprepared to meet short-term and long-term financial needs. More than 43% of American households lack the savings to cover basic living expenses for three months if a layoff or other emergency causes a loss of their current income. Without such a safety net, during financial emergencies many families are forced to rely on suboptimal options such as expensive credit cards and exploitative payday loans that then compound the difficulty of their financial situation, rather than helping solve it.

Paper Release: Personal Savings and Tax Reform

July 22, 2013
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With Congress locked in a seemingly endless loop of disagreement and dysfunction, hoping for a big, bipartisan effort to reform our tax code seems more and more like wishful thinking. Still, there are signs of promise. Senator Max Baucus and Representative Dave Camp, both chairmen of their respective tax-writing committees, launched a nation-wide “road show” last week to bring attention to the need for tax reform. While much of the attention generated by the effort has focused on the big money of corporate tax reform, a more urgent issue for average Americans is reforming personal savings incentives. A new paper that I co-authored with Reid Cramer explains why our current system, though supposedly providing generous tax incentives to save for retirement, homeownership, and education, actually fails to support savings among lower- and middle-income Americans and, in doing so, wastes billions of taxpayers’ dollars every year.

Personal Savings and Tax Reform

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • Elliot Schreur,
  • New America Foundation
July 22, 2013

The tax code is riddled with inequities, especially for families with lower incomes and fewer resources. While some low-income households benefit from refundable credits provided in the tax code such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, many more are categorically excluded from benefiting from valuable tax incentives. The nearly 70 percent of Americans that do not itemize on their tax returns cannot access a range of valuable benefits, deductions, and write-offs that amount to huge tax-saving benefits to higher-income households.

Asset Building News Week, July 8-12

July 12, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include the safety net, taxes, and debt.

Tax Policy’s Impediment to Economic Betterment

June 12, 2013
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If saving is the first step to economic success, current tax policy is the gate at the bottom of the stairs. As a recent Congressional Budget Office report shows, most of the tax incentives associated with retirement savings under our current system are out of reach for lower income families, while the households with the highest incomes receive huge financial benefits that fortify their existing financial security. Tax policy has the potential to open the path to economic mobility by encouraging saving and ownership among those who have the farthest to climb. Instead, our system largely rewards those who would save anyway, without advancing the socially beneficial behaviors professed to be the purpose of our enormously costly tax expenditures.

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